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Cellphones Communications Crime Government Privacy

Mexico Will Shut Down 25.9 Million Cell Phones 370

Posted by timothy
from the sort-of-thing-governments-tend-to-do dept.
Several months ago, as a way to prevent the use of cellular phones in criminal activities, the government of Mexico started a program to require all phone owners to register cell phones in their own names. The registry associates each phone with the listed owner's Clave Unica de Registro de Poblacion (CURP) [CURP, in English], which is supposed to be a unique ID for every Mexican citizen. Now, as nanahuatzin writes, Yesterday the timeline to register the cell phones expired, and there are [approx 26] million cell phones yet unregistered (English translation of the Spanish original). While the procedure is simple, sending a text message with the CURP to a special number, most people do not want to register: some are wary of the uses to which the government will put the data; others did not understand or did not know the procedure. So far, only 69% have registered, most of them in the last few days, while the system to register has been oversaturated. So in an unprecedented move for any country, the Mexican government is announcing the shutdown of 25.9 million cell phone lines. Meanwhile, as a measure of protest, hundreds of people have registered their cell phones in the name of the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, to show how pointless is the registry."
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Mexico Will Shut Down 25.9 Million Cell Phones

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  • Torn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xacid (560407) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:37PM (#31810340) Journal

    I'm a little torn on this. I'm all for freedom of just about everything - but only in stable societies. I'm not too much of an idealist to believe military states don't also have their usefulness.

    Considering the grip the drug cartels have on the balls of that place I'm not too terrible surprised though. As Mexico's next door neighbor I really can't blame them for trying new tactics to deal with this situation.

    • Re:Torn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:44PM (#31810432)
      Where I live, you gotta register your cellphone (or rather your SIM card) on purchase, using your national ID card. I am generally fine with the idea - under one provision: a decent constitution in combination with a functional constitutional court that regularly kicks the arse of some politico who wants to abuse the data for the sake of "anti-terrorism", "anti-childpornography" or whatever the buzzword of the day is. Thankfully, this seems to work around here, at least for now.
      • Re:Torn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:06PM (#31810676)

        I suppose you're in Germany, where this registration requirement is both a farce and a nuisance. You can roam with an unregistered card from a country without a similar requirement and thanks to legislation limiting roaming fees in the EU, this isn't even particularly expensive. You can buy a SIM card at a discounter and register it online, giving fabricated information or, like the mexicans, real information of another person. You can buy used and already registered prepaid SIM cards at flea markets. Let's face it, this is an "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" kind of situation. The flipside of the registration requirement is that tourists will be turned away by clerks who don't know how to enter information from a foreign passport and that selling SIM cards entails a huge overhead. I envy your optimism about the constitutional court being able to stop the barrage of attempts to record as much data about every citizen as possible. The "Vorratsdatenspeicherung" law has been sacked, yes, but ACTA is coming and the reprise of the data retention law will certainly arrive via the EU too, and then the constitutional court will simply not have a say in the matter. Fascism will not arrive in jackboots, it's nice and clean and agreeable, until it's too late to stop it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          You are right in localizing me. I suppose it can indeed be a nuisance to foreigners, and I could very well go without it. As to the rest of your post - first, ACTA will not have any effect on cellphones, as far as I can glean from the leaked text. Regarding data retention laws coming in via the EU - the constitutional court has made it very clear that it has the last say on any matter which has a stronger constitutional protection in Germany than in the EU, so, after the last ruling of the BVerfG, data rete
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pjt33 (739471)

            We have it in Spain as well, where I am a foreigner. Pretty much anything you do here requires your national ID card, and (being British) I don't have one. I use my passport for some things and my driving licence for others, and have yet to have any problems. Doesn't mean I like it - I accept that it's a cultural difference - but I wonder whether it would really be a nuisance to foreigners in Germany.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ShakaUVM (157947)

          >>The flipside of the registration requirement is that tourists will be turned away by clerks who don't know how to enter information from a foreign passport and that selling SIM cards entails a huge overhead.

          I visited France last year, and had no trouble getting a prepaid cell phone, but they did need to see my passport. Took maybe 20 minutes or so. If I'd cared, I'm sure I could have found a grey market retailer of SIM cards.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AmigaMMC (1103025)
            In Italy is worse than that, if you are a foreign tourist you cannot buy a SIM. Simple as that. To buy one you are required to provide your social security number card. I didn't have mine a few years ago while visiting and I had to return with my mother so that she could purchase it for me on her name.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vlm (69642)

      I'm not too much of an idealist to believe military states don't also have their usefulness.

      You know how some people "just don't get it" that in the USA, corporations and the government have merged?

      Well, in .mx, drug cartels and govt/military have merged, and some folks just don't get it.

      I fail to see how the average peasant benefits by giving the milgov/cartels access to their phone records, although it probably makes kidnapping/extortion marginally easier. Just find a peasant with some money, then use the phone records to find their closest young relative, or closest female relative, etc, etc.

      • Re:Torn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:58PM (#31811146) Journal

        Well, in .mx, drug cartels and govt/military have merged, and some folks just don't get it.

        You have to be wildly ignorant to suggest that the cartels and government/military have merged.
        The cartels have started to openly attack military bases/outposts to block or draw away military resources from being able to intercept smuggled shipments.

        Mexico's problem is endemic corruption, not a military state or a corporatocracy.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cdrguru (88047)

          Mexico's biggest problem has nothing to do with the drug cartels. It has to do with the separation of Castillian (Spain) heritage people from the Mexican Indian heritage people. There are few real "landowners" that are of an Indian heritage. The government is of the Castillian heritage people, and nobody else counts. Period.

          As long as the Indian heritage people get bribed and killed it is OK. The real power in the country stays on their nice estates and nobody bothers them.

          The only way to "fix" this wou

          • Re:Torn (Score:5, Interesting)

            by gwolf (26339) <gwolf@nOspaM.gwolf.org> on Sunday April 11, 2010 @06:03PM (#31811668) Homepage

            I am sorry to tell you... but you are completely misinformed.

            Mexico, as most of Latin America, is a mostly mixed society - Roughly 80% of our society is mestizo (in all of Latin America, only Guatemala, Paraguay and Bolivia have a higher percentage of inhabitants who identify themselves as indigenous), which means they do not have clear indigenous cultural traces (i.e. language, beliefs, even group identification). Of course, there is a lot of syncretism in our society, which means we are the result as much from the imposed Spanish culture as from the remains of the (several different) indigenous cultures.

            Now, as for your asseverations: The land is not owned mostly by indigenous. And very few of the real landowners are indigenous - Even given that after the revolution (~1910-1925) there was a real redistribution of properties mainly in the 1930-1950s (Reforma Agraria). However, due to several shortsightings by the people in charge, the real result was the peasants never saw a better economy and are, to the day, miserable. And no, there is no point in bribing them, as they do not have any authority beyond their bits of land.

            But the drug lords are taking advantage of the situation. Given the poverty, they can offer better payment for growing more, um... interesting crops. And yes, sometimes it is done by talking. Sometimes it is just done by force.

            Now, the revolution did bring many interesting and IMO very positive changes, which endured for several decades. However, I feel the real spirit of the revolution died out by the 1960s, where corruption started skyrocketing, and when dissidency and social inclination started being prosecuted as if they were crimes. You can read lots about president Díaz Ordaz (1964-1970), Echeverría Álvarez (1970-1976) and López Portillo (1976-1982), regarding the students movement, the Tlatelolco massacre (a turning point for the country's history), the dirty war of the 1970s...

            And even with almost 50 years distance (and 30 years of open neoliberalism), we still see some solid social constructs in Mexico, which, although deteriorated, are clearly results of our revolutionary process.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Aquitaine (102097)

            So we all know that the Spaniards were probably the most brutal of all the Europeans tromping around the New World. That's understatement, too -- they made the English, French, and Dutch put together look like friendly, singing Disney animals. But that was 300+ years ago.

            Can you please explain why, six+ generations later, this means that those of Spanish descent deserve to be overthrown as a pre-requisite for progress? Because it sounds like you're about to make a 'they weren't there first' argument.

      • by Santana (103744)

        Stop spreading non-sense.

        There's no such merge and I challenge you to prove it otherwise.

        Corruption in the other hand, is a cancer that no country can say it's free of.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Most of Mexico's problems would disappear if drugs were legal, and handled by prescription drug companies. No more black market. People could get their drugs from legal, regulated corporations just like getting any other drug, and Mexico would no longer have drug runners/cartels.

        IMHO.

        Please don't mod me down just cause you disagree.

        • Re:Torn (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @07:03PM (#31812038)

          I don't disagree with making drugs legal, but you clearly know nothing about Mexico.

          Your post is like saying the US's race problems would go away if they just got Universal Healthcare.

        • Re:Torn (Score:4, Insightful)

          by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @08:44PM (#31812676) Journal

          Most of Mexico's problems would disappear if drugs were legal, and handled by prescription drug companies. No more black market.

          If you had to get a prescription to get the drugs, there would still be a black market for people who couldn't get a prescription. If you legalize it, you go all the way, like with alcohol. There's not a black market for beer because it's sold off the shelf.

        • Re:Torn (Score:4, Informative)

          by xtracto (837672) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:53AM (#31814168) Journal

          Howdy cow, how many expert opinions about Mexico's problem are there in the USA!

          Allow me to intervene, as a Mexican:
          - LOL to the Castillan heritage comment, the Porfiriatio ended almost 100 years ago. Sure, there is class stratification and a lot of poverty on rural areas but the war of casts is non-existent.
          - To your comment "Most of Mexico's problems would disappear if drugs were legal, and handled by prescription drug companies." I must add, "if drugs were legal In the USA (I am sure you meant that, just to make it clear), Mexico's problem is not drug consumption, and it recently it was made legal to possess small amount of *all* (mariguana, cocaine, meths, heroin, etc) for personal use.

          Now, to the comment about army/gov/carters merging, sadly he is partly right. This is the scenario I see (from friends living ALL around the country):
          During previous presidential administration, cartels became more and more powerful (they were given space) among the government by paying and corrupting officials (I am talking from police departments to municipal president [wikipedia.org] or even governors (some may argue).
          At the same time, there was this group of amry special forces who deserted from the Mexican army to became "Los Zetas". This is where the military element of cartels comes in.

          Then comes our current president (Felipe Calderón) who throws the army to directly to the cartels. Unfortunately he does it without a real strategy and what happens is exactly the same thing happening when you throw a stone to a bee nest.
          The problem he also encounters is that law enforcement agencies are controlled by the cartels (Police departments, part of the PGR, AFI, etc). In addition, some third parties have seen how easy is *not* to be caught after doing a crime so they become criminals.

          Right now the state of Mexico is deplorable. Just last month convoys of cartels' cars were used to stop all traffic in major intercity highways!, people's cars where seized and burned up. One of those convoys were of more than 10 vans/trucks. In my opinion the "war on drugs" has made Mexico worst than some middle east places with "war on terrorism".

          But of course the reaction of our president when someone suggested to get the blue helmets was of indignation... the guy's pride does not allow him to understand that Mexican drug cartels have absolutely surpassed Mexico's army (which *in general* is trained to help population and not to lead a war)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Threni (635302)

      > As Mexico's next door neighbor I really can't blame them for trying new tactics to deal with this situation.

      I'd imagine that legalising drugs would be a more successful policy than:

      1) trying to stop millions of people from growing/making, selling and using drugs
      and
      2) trying to force millions of people to fill forms, provide personal/identifying details to the government for permission to own a phone

      Perhaps Terry Gilliam named his movie after the wrong country after all...

      • Perhaps Terry Gilliam named his movie after the wrong country after all.

        Technically, he didn't name it after any country, he named it after a mythical island. The fact that there is a country with the same name is coincidental.

      • by hibiki_r (649814)

        It's not the legal status of drugs in their country that is the problem. It's their next door neighbor that they sell the drugs to.

      • Legalize drugs? You sir must be the devil! The only things that could possibly lead to stopping much of the violent crime surrounding the cartels, cut costs while generating revenue, and allow people the same choice that we've given them with alcohol and tobacco! Won't you think of the children?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Considering the grip the drug cartels have on the balls of that place...

      You don't know nuthin'. The cartels are financed by American dollars, and run by American bosses. The corruption is equally bad on both sides of the border. And despite all this the murder rate is still worse in the states. And most of Mexico is perfectly safe.. So shitcan the bigotry. You don't want freedom. You want control.

    • a few months back I was driving along in TJ with a group of women and refrained from pointing out the two bridges in a row that had a person (each) hung from them. It wasn't until the next day when they read about it in the news, knowing we went down that road, that a few of them realized they had seen something, but didn't think about it. Sometimes that's the best way - to not think about it. Another of our volunteers got separated once from the caravan, having decided that day to drive their own car - they got lost, and ended up passing a man being burned alive by a gang. She never drove her own car there again, that's for certain...

      So yeah..."essential liberties" that we get upset about up here north of the boarder really aren't that essential. For a place that's so close to us, it's...very, very far away.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Requiem18th (742389)

        I'd be the last one to suggest Mexico doesn't have problems but, Tijuana, like Juarez is a special case, that's kinda like equating the whole of U.S. with the worse parts of Detroit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What I find interesting is that when push comes to shove, many Mexicans realize that the technological boon isn't worth the loss of privacy. So when the government says "give us your identity or lose your cellphone" they say, "Here, take my cellphone." Would Americans do that, or just lay down and take it, for love of convenience?

    • Re:Torn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2010 @05:03PM (#31811200)

      Considering the grip the drug cartels have on the balls of that place I'm not too terrible surprised though. As Mexico's next door neighbor I really can't blame them for trying new tactics to deal with this situation.

      I think you have to look at how the drug war is handled overall, though, and realize that increasing militarization of Mexico is probably not as effective as other means of stopping gangs (i.e. changing policies to interfere with the multi-billion dollar black market that funds them).

      To put it more plainly, the U.S.-led drug war is the only reason the drug cartels can amass so much money and power in the first place. As long as the DEA keeps seizing *part* of the supply of drugs, the remaining market will increase price due to the imbalance of supply and demand. Al Capone made it big because of alcohol prohibition, by running the drug (alcohol) from areas of production (Canada and other countries) into profitable markets with insatiable demand (US). Pablo Escobar made it big because of cocaine prohibition, by running the drug (cocaine) from areas of production (Peru, Bolivia, Columbia) into profitable markets with insatiable demand (US, Puerto Rico).

      The markets are positive feedback loops because the drugs are addictive, and the money is dirty, so it is spent in a decentralized fashion by gangs to buy weapons. We have seized, AK-47s, AR-15s, M203 grenade launchers, hand grenades, IEDs, from these guys. They have indiscriminately attacked Mexican police and military personnel. They produce cannabis and methamphetamine with slave and child labor.

      But the question of legalizing cannabis, and thereby slashing gang funding and gaining tax revenues by selling their product, that idea is off the table. Instead, we make more of the guns that may well end up in enemy hands, we spend a few billion dollars to fund the latest narcowar, and we tell the kids that it's a gateway drug, and to just say no, and then we loosen our ties and step down from the podium and have a cold brew, or a stogie.

      And why don't we consider converting the black market into a taxed, regulated one? Because we wouldn't be able to handle the societal harms that would come with another legal drug. Because it's in Gil Kerlikowske's job description that he must oppose legalization of currently illegal drugs. Because there are lobbyists for the military industries, for alcohol, for tobacco, for fiber producers and processors, for pharmaceutical industries, but there is no weed lobby.

      All I'm saying is if maybe this relatively (to alcohol and tobacco and caffeine) safe recreational drug WASN'T forced onto the black market, if the difference between the cost to grow and the street price per gram funded education and interdiction of harder drugs, instead of the gangs we then must spend tax dollars to fight, maybe then we would be facing some "societal harms," but maybe they wouldn't be as bad as having thousands die from gunshot wounds and god damned decapitations.

      I hate politics so much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      On a related note, all the owners of ethernet controllers were asked to register with their real names too.
      Differently shocked ? Why ? Because we are now used of having a non-neutral wireless net, as opposed to a neutral wired one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Requiem18th (742389)

      Wow, freedom for me, Orwell for others, how generous of you of you.

      Look, after our [Mexicans] voters records were bought illegally [wikipedia.org] by ChoicePoint, an already [wikipedia.org] unthrustable [wikipedia.org] American company a major wave of phone driven extortions started.

      Yes, the extortionists use unregistered cellphones, but their tactics wouldn't be anywhere that effective if they didn't have access to the name, address, home phone, birth data and family (via name and location matching) of every adult Mexican in the country.

      And now the pro

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:39PM (#31810364)
    Things in Mexico have gotten bad lately especially along the boarder. This is killing their tourism industry which is a key component of their economy. Americas especially are fearful to visit, and the days of a weekend in Tijuana are all but over. The Mexican governemnt has failed time and time again to combat this problem, in no large part thanks to their massive curruption problem. Despite some material wealth I fear that Mexico is sliding into a true third-world economy. If the choice is between bribing cops/ possibly getting murdered and spending a few extra bucks to go to say Miami then the choice seems clear.
    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      i just want to add since I never adressed it that because of the way this system is structed, and the pervasive corruption this is nothing more than a gesture to the locals to show that Calderon "on the job".
    • If the cartels just pay complete strangers to make phonecalls on their registered phones, the majority of complete strangers would accept the money, and if they don't then they'd just be robbed and the registered phone taken and once again anonymous phone calls.

      Registering phones is as pointless as registering guns. Criminals don't register, so this will only effect the individuals who aren't in the cartels. The cartels will just go deeper underground, and will be even more anonymous because they'll start u

    • by mqduck (232646)

      Things in Mexico have gotten bad lately especially along the boarder. This is killing their tourism industry which is a key component of their economy. Americas especially are fearful to visit, and the days of a weekend in Tijuana are all but over.

      This is exactly the kind of response I expected, based on how the poster feels it affects them as an American. Where are your ideals now, Slashdot?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:39PM (#31810370)

    ...but in Spain, you (the phone number owner) had to go with your "DNI" (National Identification Document) to your TC to register it and not be shut down.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:41PM (#31810400)

    So far, only 69% have registered...

    So, the *majority* have registered, and a large number of the remaining know about it but don't trust the system? Sounds more or less succesful to me...

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      What about the 10 million tourist phones?

      • by vlm (69642)

        What about the 10 million tourist phones?

        The antics of the drug cartels are rapidly eliminating that "problem".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wisnoskij (1206448)

      While 69% is a majority, it is still far from 100%.
      Their is still 25 Million phones unregistered

      How would you feel, if for example the US power suppliers ungraded their system and they had a few problems but 69% of Americans still had power afterward.
      more or less successful, right? The majority of Americans have power.

      A majority is not even close to success in many endeavors.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:44PM (#31810434)
    This'll just spread the crime to include cell phone theft. Then the government will need to set up some program to keep track of stolen phones and make sure they're deactivated and all the mess that comes along with that.

    Even outside of the privacy concerns and other issues, this is a terrible idea that doesn't even approach solving the problem. It's a stupid ploy so that some asshat can claim they're trying to crack down on crime without really cracking down on crime.
    • by fearlezz (594718) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:55PM (#31810570) Homepage

      If you steal a phone, it'll be blocked before you got to call your criminal contacts. However, if you take the owner along, you may have a few days before it's blocked. So instead of stopping the crime, this is a perfectly good excuse for abducting (and possibly killing) any person that could supply a phone.

      Great move!

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:55PM (#31811106) Journal
        You'd have to be doing fairly serious crime before adding abduction or murder to your rap sheet for the job becomes practical(and even if you are, it is probably cheaper to use corruption, or apply smaller quantities of violence more strategically. A nice fat "tip" to the guy making minimum wage to man the counter at Juan's Cellphone hut can probably get you a phone registered to anybody he has sold a phone to in the last couple of weeks, and no questions asked. If you do steal a phone, displaying your gun and informing the former owner "I will need this to be working for the next week. Should it stop, I'll be back to express my displeasure." almost certainly works 90% as well as just abducting the guy, while being far less conspicuous, and a rather less serious crime.)

        There probably will be a tiny number of statistically nonrepresentative; but rather ghastly and mediagenic, cases of what you describe; but I strongly suspect that the vast majority of real criminal work will either be done within the time constraints of basic pickpocketing/mugging(grab the phone, you probably have at least half an hour before they notice it is gone/pull themselves together and get to another phone to start calling their telco and their bank and so forth), with theft+intimidation("I'll be taking this. Your story is that you 'lost' it and spent several days looking everywhere for it. If I hear otherwise, I'll be sure to tell your children, so to speak."), or with basic corruption(just as with IDs, there will probably be a large and fairly easily accessible market for phones registered to just about anybody, available at a modest premium over the underlying service contract).
    • Fascists don't make laws on the basis of whether or not it will work to solve a problem. Fascists make laws to control human behavior. It's as worthless as national ID cards with DNA built in. It's as worthless as the laws that make it a crime to possess certain drugs or information. These laws aren't designed to solve a problem, they are designed to control and regulate human behavior.

      Usually these laws create even more problems or turn small problems into a big problem, which is then used as a convenient

  • Nice protest. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:46PM (#31810460)

    Meanwhile, as a measure of protest, hundreds of people have registered their cell phones in the name of the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, to show how pointless is the registry.

    Wow. 25.9 million cell phones get turned off, and out of all of them, only a few hundred flip the government the finger to this useless piece of legislation? I'm disappointed.

    • Re:Nice protest. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Requiem18th (742389) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @10:08PM (#31813146)

      Be disappointed. I'm protesting by changing cell phone company to the one that promises not to shutdown the phones, voting with my wallet, putting my money where my mouth is etc, but most people I know are completely uninterested in doing anything that will bring any sort of discomfort into their lives.

      It dawned on me few years ago that the main problem with Mexico is not drug cartels or corrupt government but a total lack of confidence in your fellow citizens. We never get organized. We have nothing like neighbor associations, our very few civil associations are weak and irrelevant. We tend to do things our own way and only thrust ourselves, we deal with crime by shielding our windows and reinforcing our doors, we deal with police by avoiding/bribing them, we deal with criminals by cursing them.

      This is of course a vicious cycle. No thrust in government means no initiative to keep politicians accountable which leads to more corruption which leads to less trust in the authorities. It's a never ending cycle.

      For contrast is the fact that the most effective anti-criminal initiative in Mexico in last years has been the anonymous denouncing system. I mean, seriously, no other system has attracted more public cooperation than the ability to seek help from authorities without exposing yourself to them, just this should be enough to realize what a boneheaded law this is.

      As a side note, the government has been increasing the penalties for piracy in Mexico, then, it recently became a criminal offense instead of a civil infraction (a move you should be familiar with). While this is supposed to cut down the revenue stream from organized, commercial, pirate activity, I wonder if the result is not going to be something akin to the prohibition era in the US...

  • But what they're going through is really a civil war. And in the US, we took quite a few liberties with civil rights during our civil war.

    Will it help? Maybe--it will at least require drug gangs to go to the trouble of stealing cell phones that only have useful lives of a few days

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)
      Most "Drug Lords" use sat phones.
      • by elucido (870205)

        Most "Drug Lords" use sat phones.

        Another good point. But honestly they don't even have to use cellphones at all, they could use the radio.

  • Here = Greece. On June every unregistered cellphone number will be deactivated by the providers who are obligated to do so by the authorities. I wonder how this can halt criminality. They can just get accounts from other countries, can't they? Or, simpler, they can steal accounts from others and use them till they get reported. it will generate more illegality like stolen account information sales or customer databases hacking. And of course, there is the privacy issue and how the information will be treate
  • by Nichotin (794369) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:55PM (#31810568)
    This is was not unique for Norway at the time, but I remember what happened: Many criminals started using other peoples social security numbers... Let's say you want to register with certain operators, all you need to do is get a prepaid package with a new number, then send a text message with "REG firstname surname socialsecuritynumber". Nothing but automatic verification. I don't know what is worse, let criminals have anonymous phones or have them use other peoples ID.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pretty shocking that so many countries are afraid of anonymous speech.

    • by TheGavster (774657) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:21PM (#31810818) Homepage

      The criminal use of another person's ID is by far the more terrifying. I would much rather have someone set up an unlicensed druggist's 2 doors down than for the police to batter down my door in the dark of night, with rules of engagement for dealing with a supposedly violent criminal. Much rather that someone else be given the opportunity to destroy their own life through drug abuse than for the police to either destroy me professionally with drug charges or physically with excessive force.

      • I would much rather have someone set up an unlicensed druggist's 2 doors down than for the police to batter down my door in the dark of night, with rules of engagement for dealing with a supposedly violent criminal.

        How about a foreign secret service stealing your identity, and performing a hit in your country? And you just happen to have a vague resemblance to the hit man in the security video . . . ?

        Try to get *that* straightened out.

        I fear that all these systems give government folks a false sense of security. And they don't realize that anything that comes out of these systems, can only be as good as the validity of the data that went in.

      • by Nichotin (794369)
        Yes, after a second look at the issue I must agree. What I was originally thinking about in the first post was basically how it turned out: You have a fair share that uses their own social security number, because they don't have other peoples info for some reason. Then you have the other gang that uses other peoples info. Luckily, the police tend to do legwork enough to know wether the number they have matches the registered owners. Police in Norway is usually unarmed, except in cases where they suspect fi
  • A new ad ... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by tomhudson (43916)

    hundreds of people have registered their cell phones in the name of the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, to show how pointless is the registry

    "Hey, Felipe, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?"

  • by dAzED1 (33635) <brianlamere AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:01PM (#31810632) Homepage Journal

    My wife and I help run an animal rescue group down in TJ (http://www.friendsofhstj.org) and several of our members have Mexico phones so we can call people while there, and not pay international roaming :P

    I didn't even know about this, and since only Mexican citizens have one of these CURP numbers...apparently non-Mexicans have to do a bit extra to have a working phone there.

  • by FrozenGeek (1219968) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:10PM (#31810714)
    So, the stated goal is to prevent criminals from using cell phones. Since we are talking about criminals, what prevents them from registering under a stolen identity? Or what prevents them from stealing cell phones? Or what prevents them from paying $1000 to Juan (who earns $50/month) over there to register their cell phone in his name? I understand the desire, but it won't work (even if government corruption does not undermine the plan). It will become another pointless government bureaucracy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ranzear (1082021)
      pointless government bureaucracy

      This is redundant in three different ways.
    • by vlm (69642)

      It will become another pointless government bureaucracy.

      What if the point is to open a new market in fake-id cellphones? I think this HIGHLY likely.

      Both govt and criminal orgs benefit, and coincidentally they have merged to run .MX. So the folks that run .mx will make money. No surprise?

      • The criminals could actually get smart and stop using cellphones entirely, or use some sort of internet phone which would basically kill this entire idea overnight.

    • Believe me it's not at all a pointless idea. If they can control who you can talk to and how, they can control you.

  • I will sell you anonymous SIM cards from several countries usable in Mexico.

    Of course you need to pay the roaming bills *g*

    • by Skapare (16644)

      How about some SIM cards registered in the names of Mexicans ... even if they are recently killed by drug cartels ... so there are no roaming bills?

  • So lets say i want to go on vacation to Mexico ( not that i would, don't have a death wish ) but if i did, how would i be able to get cell service now? Im not a citizen so i don't have one of those numbers.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      You would have two choices:
      1) You do international roaming which will cost you big bucks.
      2) You get a pre-paid cell phone and register it to yourself when you activate it.

  • Same Old Story (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @04:45PM (#31811020)

    In an attempt to curb [Type_of_Crime] the government of [Country] has [Required_Registration || Restriction] of [Device || Devices]

    The net result of which has been to inconvenience and annoy honest citizens and not affect criminals at all since they don't follow the laws and working around [Required_Registration || Restriction] is trivially easy.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Ah ha! ... so that's where the {RI,MP}AA got the idea of DRM. If you outlaw X, then only outlaws will be using X.

  • And after cell phones what if they force their citizens to register other things.
    and then the obvious things is, "hay, if we know where all are citizens are and what they are doing at all times then it will be near impossible to get away with crimes"
    Seems to me this is a very slippery slope, ending in absolute tyranny.
    It is not even that long of a slope, even just using cell phones, all they need is some required software or hardware in all of them with some sort of GPS and the government can know what you

  • ... there has been huge rise in the number of stolen phones and SIM cards in Mexico, especially from the few tourists that still come to Mexico.

  • by Superdarion (1286310) on Sunday April 11, 2010 @07:29PM (#31812218)
    'cause I am.

    I am one of those who hasn't registered his phone. Not because I don't know how or didn't know I had to, but because I'm against it.

    Besides my paranoia, which is well founded, I REFUSE to have a cell phone if things go this way. As the summary reads, many people have been registering to the President's name. While this is kind of funny, it means that it's possible for anyone to register under MY name, then go out and commit crimes with that phone.

    The only way of knowing about this is to go to the SEGOB's page and manually check out which numbers are registered to your CURP. So what? I'm suppossed to do this every two days to make sure no one is using my CURP to register?!

    This if a very stupid idea. Even if there was some ID check proccedure while registering (which would require posts being set exclusively to check that and you, the user, would have to personally go there with your ID card and whatnot), it's just a call for a wave of cellphone theft that will get out of hand and render the whole thing useless.

    As of paranoia, a few years ago something was tried here just like this RENAUT thing, but with cars, called the RENAVE. It was a registration (mandatory) of new cars (and the plan was to extend it to used cars as well) to "help prevent auto theft". Well fuck it! A few months into it the news hit us that the one in charge was using the information to steal and sell stolen cars himself! Not to mention that he happened to be an Argentinan genocide from the 60s.

    And now I'm supposed to trust the government with a cellphone-CURP database?! Fuck no! I'd rather go back to sending smoke signals to my friends and family!

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