Tech Policy Podcast

#57: Burner Phones and Terrorism

April 8, 2016

Pre-paid “burner” phones are often associated with the illegal world, whether it’s drug dealing, organized crime, or even terrorism. But for most consumers, they offer legitimate benefits, including privacy protections and an alternative to lengthy phone contracts. In the wake of the Brussels attacks, some lawmakers are turning their sights on burner phones. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) recently introduced a bill that would require consumers to present government-issued ID to buy these phones. Is this a legitimate counter-terrorism effort? Or knee-jerk scapegoating of technology? What does an ID requirement mean for social justice? Evan discusses the bill and its implications with Morgan Wright, a cybersecurity expert.

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