Tighter controls on SIM cards could crack down on criminality – Conway

Fine Gael Clare Senator, Martin Conway, has said that tighter controls on the sale of mobile phone SIM cards could help to crack down on criminal activity. Speaking in the Seanad today (Thursday), Senator Conway said that SIM cards are freely available in this country and are widely used in criminality.

“I am very worried about how easy it is for criminals to buy multiple SIM cards. There is no limit to the number of SIM cards that one person can buy, and there’s no traceability or accountability. The danger of not having tighter controls on the sale of SIM cards was illustrated in this week’s Prime Time Investigates programme on prostitution.

“Criminal gangs are freely and easily taking advantage of the readily availability of SIM cards, which they use to set up crimes, and discard afterwards, making it more difficult for the Gardaí to trace them. It’s clear that smugglers, drug dealers and other serious criminal operators use multiple SIM cards to avoid detection.

“I was recently in Spain and a colleague of mine tried to buy a SIM card for his phone, but was first asked to produce a passport, which was photocopied by the retailer. I think a similar system should be introduced here.

“It is only right that there would be traceability on all SIM cards issued within this State. Advances in telecommunications allow us all to be constant contact, but they also present pitfalls which must be addressed in law.”