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Mexican law aimed at curbing crime may leave millions of cell phone users without service…

April 9th, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Last year, the Mexican government passed a law mandating all pre-paid, anonymous mobile phone users submit their personal information to their wireless provider(s) and have their cellular line linked with their name and personal information. The law is aimed at curbing what Mexican officials are calling “mobile extortion.” Ransom demands from organized crime and drug cartel kidnappings are often made via anonymous, pre-paid cellular phones, and it is the preferred method of communication for “common criminals” in Mexico. The majority of Mexico’s estimated 84 million mobile phones are pre-paid, and with the weekend deadline for compliance looming, over 30 million pre-paid users have failed to submit their information in accordance with the new law. Mexican telcom companies were denied a request to extend the deadline for compliance by the country’s senate. The anonymous lines that are not in compliance by this weekend are supposed to be shut off by the wireless service provider the line is associate with. Critics of the law say that criminals will simply register the phones with fake or other people’s credentials, and that denying the Mexican people access to cellular phones is a violation of people’s constitutional rights under Mexican law. Telcom company America Movîl is predicting losses of around $10 million a day if the 30 million unregistered lines are indeed shut down. What do you think? For the greater good, or a violation of the rights and privacy of the Mexican people?

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