We’ve all seen crime dramas where the bad guys use prepaid cellphones – referred to as “burners” – to communicate while remaining anonymous and fairly untraceable. Well apparently democratic Representative Jackie Speier has seen those same crime dramas and wants to pass a bill that would force anyone purchasing a prepaid cellphone to provide identification and officially register.

Speier calls the popularity of prepaid phones a “loophole” and “egregious gap in our legal framework,” and she’s not wrong. There’s a reason that prepaid phones are so popular with criminals and terrorists. However, this is a pretty cut and dry example of freedom versus security, which is why attempts to pass similar bills in the past have all failed.

The bill, Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016, is a lot like Senator Chuck Schumer’s bill from six years ago that would have required anyone buying a prepaid phone to submit ID. In that case, it was argued that plenty of non-criminals use the phones, including journalists who want to protect their sources, victims of abuse, and of course those with low income.

This is where some people would incorrectly bust out that “liberty for safety” quote from Benjamin Franklin that, in the proper context, actually meant almost the opposite of what everyone thinks it means. Schumer’s bill didn’t make it through. Let’s hope Speier’s bill dies a quick death, too.

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