June 7, 2010
Before I get into the meat of this article let me start by making an observation; pretty much everything in life can be used for good or evil. A ball point pen can be used to write great prose of wisdom, degrading trash that would make a sailor blush, or in trained hands a deadly weapon. The automobile that we take for granted is an immeasurable convenience of our modern society or in the trained hands of a terrorist can be used to deliver devastating destruction.
Recently Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced Senate bill S.3427 titled as “Pre-Paid Mobile Device Identification Act” aimed at requiring retailers of pre-paid mobile devices to collect identification of purchasers and submit that information to the carrier and store that information for a minimum of 18 months.
The rationale behind this was the use of a pre-paid cell phone during the recent Times Square bombing attempt and “other illicit activities.” The problem is that this will have absolutely zero effect in stopping any terrorist incident but it will allow the government the ability to track a segment of our society that up to now it could not track. Therefore this bill is not designed to stop attacks upon US soil it is only another means of expanding control.
Section 3 of the bill requires the seller to acquire the full name, complete home address, and birth date of the purchaser who may purchase a mobile device or SIM card. If the sale is conducted in person the purchaser must furnish a Federal or State ID or any two of the following:
W2 not older than 18 months
• Form 1099 not older than 18 months
• Any form that the Attorney General deems acceptable
If, however, the sale is not in person the seller must acquire from the purchaser
A valid credit/debit card information
• Their Social Security Number
• Their Driver’s license
• And any other identifying information that the Attorney General may deem necessary.
The exact language of the bill for this section states: “An authorized reseller making a sale to a purchaser not in person shall verify the purchaser information provided under section 3 by requiring the purchaser to submit the following information:,” and then lists the items above. Notice it does not say one of the following – it states it requires all three items, but if you buy it in person you only need one.
Knowing this, lets say a bad guy decides to do what the Times Square bomber did, so he gets a fake ID, easily obtainable now-a-days, and purchases (in person) a cell phone. Are we going to know any more about this guy now than before this bill? Absolutely not! And if the bad guy is buying it over the internet can not see me and does not know if the information being provided to the seller is accurate or not, and he can’t check it. If the purchaser steals a credit card and uses that card with false Social Security Number and false Drivers License number no one will know because there is no requirement to verify the data provided – only that it be provided and recorded. In fact the bill only requires that a record of the transaction be made with the identifying information of the individual and the device. The seller then has 30 days to submit that data to the carrier where the carrier will then put the data on file.
The bill goes further by stating that any person that sells a mobile device or SIM that is not an authorized reseller faces a fine of not more than $500.00 and/or imprisonment for not LESS than 1 year. So now if Sally has a few “pre-paid” phones laying around the house that are no longer used and decides to have a yard sale and someone purchases the phone from her, she could go to jail for over a year having absolutely no criminal intent what-so-ever.
The net effect of this bill will be:
Absolutely zero effect in stopping a terrorist attack or other illicit
2. Easily defeated by those that would do such illicit activity
3. Will increase the burden on the private sector by increased record keeping and data storage
4. Further infringement on the privacy of private citizens business and personal dealings
5. Increase the cost of such items due to the increased cost of business upon the seller of the items
6. Potentially makes felons out of normal citizens selling their own property in a private sale.
The federal government has known, for quite some time, that they can track people, monitor calls, and identify the owners of those phones through cellular subscription services. But since the advent of pre-paid devices they could not tie personal identification to a particular device, which created the Cell-Phone loop hole.
Not wanting to let any crises go to waste, the government has decided to use the excuse of combating terrorism to expand its ability to track all cellular devices; pre-paid or otherwise.
On a similar topic is the gun-show loophole that has been talked about so much lately. This, so called, “loop hole” is not in fact a loop hole at all. People have every right to dispose of their private property as they see fit. It is perfectly legal for a person to sell his or her property to another person without having to ask permission from the government or to register that sale with the government.
What most people seem to have forgotten is that the federal gun laws are based on interstate commerce of firearms. If an individual is in “the business” of the firearm trade then they become “regulated” by the firearms acts. The National Firearms Act does not pertain to the private sale of possessions, firearms or otherwise, between two individuals who are not engaged in that business. Every business selling firearms at a gun show must comply with federal firearms laws and it is strictly enforced. That does not preclude Joe Public from selling to Tom Citizen a firearm in a private sale as long as Joe is not at the Gun Show as a business seller; this is perfectly legal and should remain so.
Both the so called Cell Phone and Gun Show Loop Holes are nothing more than government wanting more and more control and information on everyone in this country. With cell phones becoming so common place it has been a great tool for the federal government to follow the whereabouts of anyone that comes into their sites. Knowing that some firearms are sold that they do not have record of and cannot trace produces a loop hole in the governments data but not a loop hole in the law. Making it mandatory that every firearm sale be processes through the appropriate paperwork will allow the government to know where most all the firearms are at any given time (an unofficial gun registration).
Now should things become dicey, with further attacks, further encroachments by government, civil unrest, etc., the government will now be able to tie a cell phone user with a firearm record and track where those people are. If we were only tracking bad guy then this might be a good thing except for the fact that the bad guys don’t get their guns legally (most of the time) and it is just as easy to steal a cell phone to do what they want to do or falsify the identification to purchase it.
So if the majority of real “bad guys” do not operate within the system, meaning they get their materials on the black Markey, then the main effect will be upon the general public. Knowing that most legislators have a certain level of intelligence to make it to where have, they know all this. And if they know this already then one of two things are happening here; either they are doing things solely to show they are doing something (mostly trying to get reelected), or the real goal is exactly what they intend for it to do. Either way it is another stripe against liberty and another expansion of government intrusion into the lives of all Americans.
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Using the logic of this bill, and many others, knowing the dual nature of things to be used for good or evil, there is no end to what the government could deem to regulate. Laws are meant to curb and punish behavior unacceptable to a community. When government begins to criminalize objects then we are fighting a loosing battle because the only people who are affected by the law are the law abiding citizen.
This bill was touted as a measure to aid in stopping terrorism; but it is apparent that either Senator Schumer is a complete idiot or he is the lead man in not letting another crises go to waste in furthering the government agenda.
� 2010 Michael LeMieux - All Rights Reserved
LeMieux was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1956 and graduated from
Weber State University in Utah with a degree in Computer Science. He served
in both the US Navy and US Army (Active duty and National Guard) and trained
in multiple intelligence disciplines and was a qualified paratrooper.
He served with the 19th Special Forces Group, while in the National Guard,
as a Special Forces tactical intelligence team member. He served tours
to Kuwait and Afghanistan where he received the Purple Heart for injuries
received in combat.
Mr. LeMieux left military duty at the end of 2005 after being medically discharged with over 19 years of combined military experience. He currently works as an intelligence contractor to the US government.
Michael is a strict constitutionalist who believes in interpreting the constitution by the original intent of the founding fathers. His research has led him to the conclusion that the republic founded by the Constitution is no longer honored by our government. That those who rule America today are doing so with the interest of the federal government in mind and not the Citizens. Michael believes that all three branches of government have strayed far from the checks and balances built into the Constitution and they have failed the American people. A clear example is the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court and the founders have all said was an individual right and could not be "infringed" upon, now has more than 20,000 state and federal laws regulating every aspect of the individuals right, a definite infringement. He has traveled around the world living in 14 States of the Union including Hawaii, and visited (for various lengths of time) in Spain, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, Scotland, Pakistan, Mauritius, Somalia, Diego Garcia, Australia, Philippines, England, Italy, Germany, and Puerto Rico.
Michael now lives in Nebraska with his wife, two of his three children, Mother-in-Law and grandchild. His hobbies include shooting, wood-working, writing, amateur inventor and scuba diving when he can find the time.
Contact Michael through his Website: www.constitutiondenied.com