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Cellphones Security News

Cell Phone SIM Cards Lead To Terrorists' Trail 118

Cliff Stoll writes "The Times of India reports that cell phone SIM cards used by the terrorists in Mumbai were purchased in Kolkata (Calcutta), using fraudulent papers. The papers belonged to the dead uncle of a 26-year-old man living in Kolkata; he is suspected of being a collaborator of the terrorists. The paper states that this highlights 'the continued vulnerabilities in the system which have repeatedly been exploited by the terrorists and their collaborators to obtain cell phone connections. "We've booked them for cheating and forgery as they produced fake documents to get the SIMs. We've also slapped conspiracy charges against them for they had an ulterior motive. The arrests will throw light on the Mumbai terror module," Kolkata police's Jawed Shamim said.'"
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Cell Phone SIM Cards Lead To Terrorists' Trail

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  • Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @11:37AM (#26020627) Homepage Journal

    Just require DNA to purchase, and use, a phone. We don't need that pesky free-speech and privacy do we?

    One of the costs of liberties is that some will abuse them. The answer is not to take them away from the rest. ( but its what the government wants to do, and garbage like this just helps them snow the populace into thinking its for 'their own good'.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @11:48AM (#26020751) Homepage Journal

    I recently found out is, AT&T is requiring you give them your damned SSN to get one activated

    I shall now go checking on this, but for now I'm going to say "no".

    Several years back my grandmother was with us shopping and the dept store offered her a credit card for the store. She wanted one and filled out the paperwork. It got to the spot where you had to fill in your SSN.

    "I don't want to give you that. You can't demand that."

    She grew up in the era where your SSN was ubber-top-secret and you were actually publicly educated to never give it out. She knew the rules.

    They argued for a good 10 min and finally got on the phone calling around. The store clerks realized she was probably right, but everything they had been told was to the contrary.

    Finally after 25 minutes of phonecalls and I don't know how far up the chain they had to go, they ran into someone that knew the law. "she's right, we cannot demand her SSN as a condition for getting the card." (you cannot simply say "well it's your right not to give out your SSN but if you don't, we won't give you this card") She was issued an alternate unique identification number. From what I saw, this was an extremely unusual case for someone to call them on this, so very few people know their rights here.

    I remember my SSN used to be on my driver's license. Now that's a different unique number also. Heck, two months ago I was at the dentist and they wanted my SSN. I said I don't want to give it to you. She said well look on your dental card I bet that's your number. by god she was right. That got changed a week later following a phonecall from me to my insurance company.

    It's amazing how many places you will see people wanting your SSN, and if you're sucker enough to give it to them, they're doing really stupid things with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 07, 2008 @12:08PM (#26020925)

    in todays world your SSN is what your financial history is tied to, and it's not 1940 anymore alice...

    not saying it's a good thing but it is what it is.

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ErkDemon ( 1202789 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @12:16PM (#26020993) Homepage
    Ban the telephone!
  • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rhsanborn ( 773855 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @12:31PM (#26021111)
    This is what we call a false dichotomy [] and is exactly the same fear tactic used by governments in several countries to justify invasive and abusive legislation and practices.
  • Re:Easy solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TimWox ( 1425975 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @02:25PM (#26022197)
    Since this information was collected at some point, now they have a lead. This can result in taking several of the terrorists out of the streets. Without this lead, without able to arrest these terrorists, when they bomb next time, would you tell the victims it is just false dichotomy? It's easy to be arm chair philosopher. But don't fool yourself. When you are directly affected, your concern for your life would always triumph your want for privacy rights.
  • Re:Easy solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WCguru42 ( 1268530 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @03:48PM (#26023075)
    If SSN wasn't used as a catchall proof of identity in nearly all forms of financial transaction then it wouldn't be as big a deal. If the SSN was only used as a way to provide identity to the government (the original intent) then we wouldn't have people so afraid of this. But that's not the case, now if someone has your home address, SSN and maybe a family name they can take out all forms of credit in your name and ruin your ability to function in western society. I feel bad for those who die from terrorism but whatever restrictions we put on the purchase of phones, etc. there will be a way around it and the terrorists will still succeed in some way. The only true way to combat terrorism is to convince them that it is not worth the violence that they cause, a tremendously daunting and perhaps impossible task.
  • Re:Easy solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @10:48PM (#26026889)

    You are factually incorrect as to what the law requires (leaving aside for the moment the question of whether the law is being properly enforced).

    As a US citizen, they cannot tap your phone without warrant. They can, however, tap the phone line of a suspect outside the US so that if you call that "tagged" line, they can listen in. That doesn't make you tapped because your next call to Joe's Pizza cannot be intercepted. Basically, they can monitor the phone line of the foreign person and gather your phone to him but they can't monitor your line.

    Please read the link in my OP.

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:30AM (#26030413)

    Fortunatly the chances of a friend dying at the hands of a terrorist are so small as to be a joke.

    Any given friend of mine is hundreds of times more likely to die in a car wreck, thousands of time more likely to die from cancer, or heart disease.
    I need to fear my friends being killed by terrorists in the same way I need to fear my friends getting killed by lightening.
    It might happen but spending your whole life carrying around a Faraday cage would be stupid.
    Giving up your civil rights to fight lightening would be idiotic.

    Yet that's basically what people do. Because even if only a tiny number get killed by terrorists everyone see's it. And that's the point, the groups which use it get attention.

    Want to really fight terrorism? Gently push the media to never report the name or details of any group which commits a terrorist attack, give as little attention as you can to it. Don't blame everything on 9/11. Don't give the videos from terrorist groups any air time. If you do this then terrorism stops being effective. If it stops being effective then it will be used much much less than if it's a guaranteed way to get your cause and politics into the headlines.

  • by marcus ( 1916 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @04:12PM (#26038303) Journal

    And that is the problem you are having in understanding this situation. You cannot conceive of people that are different from you even though they are observable in everyday life. You value your continued existence and perhaps that of others above all else. Others do not.

    Try and face it, there have been people that chose to die rather than relinquish freedoms. There are still others alive today like them who are willing to die rather than not be free.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.