SIMply too easy to get cards
BUYING a SIM card for your mobile phone costs as little as $2 and there are no questions asked. But for how much longer? If police get their way, some time soon, if you want a SIM card you'll have to identify yourself, just the same as if you're were getting a passport. The problem is organised crime and terrorism. A plan to make SIM cards harder to get was discussed at a recent Federal inquiry into the impact of serious organised crime on Australian society. It was prompted by an increase in the use of SIM cards by organised crime gangs and as detonating devices in terrorist bombs. NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said buying the cards was too easy and regulating sales would help to track down criminals. "I have to be concerned about the ultimate civil liberty to be free from ... murder," he said. Newsagents in Ballina, who sell the cards over the counter, said they sold so few the proposed changes would only have a slight affect. East Ballina Newsagency assistant Theresa Atkinson said they sold starter kits which included a SIM card, for $19.95 and $29.95. "The people who mainly buy them are students in years 10, 11 and 12," she said. "But I don't think they would have the 100 points of ID necessary. "It's not a big drama. I guess their parents may have to buy it for them." Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association's manager Randal Markey said mobiles were valued by the community for safety and security reasons. Over 60 per cent of emergency calls were made from mobiles. "Young people rely on pre-paids to avoid getting into debt.," he said. "We are developing a common pre-paid identity check form at point-of-sale."