Feeds

Swiss move to block Al Qaeda mobile phone supply

It's not just the clocks, then?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

With commendable swiftness the Swiss parliament has moved to cut off Al Qaeda's mobile phone supply, reacting to an almost entirely imaginary scare set off by intelligence services just a few days ago. Switzerland, you'll recall, was allegedly one of the few places where you could buy a prepaid GSM SIM module for cash, without the phone network ever having to know who you really are.

We at The Reg expressed our doubts about this, and within hours had reports from all over Europe of how you could easily buy international-rated SIM modules for cash, no ID, no problem. We got the impression that most stores would probably call the police if you tried to force your details on them, and we were particularly impressed by the ease with which you could buy them in France, where they're actually supposed to take your details. You can even get round this by buying the French ones from a certain well-known UK chain; frankly, France Telecom's insistence on your filling in a form prior to buying one online sits as a splendid example of rectitude, isolated in a world of terror-friendly laxity.

But never mind. The anonymous Swiss SIM is no more, and Switzerland has moved from being the communications supplier of choice for the uninformed terrorist who should get out more to just about the only place in Europe where terrorists won't be arranging to phone home. Or has it?

The new regulation, as reported by Reuters, requires that records on users be kept for two years, and the Swiss are looking at figuring out how many are being used today, where and why. So presumably they'll be phoning up bemused American tourists and saying: "Hello? Osama?"

Once they've got records on all the cards in use, the security procedures will be simple. If they've caught an Al Qaeda terrorist and discovered he's using a Swiss SIM, they can look up the record of his address, then go and arrest him. No, we'll try that again. When they notice a suspicious pattern of usage, with calls being made from suspicious locations like Islamabad, Baghdad and Finsbury Park, they can look up the address he filled in and go and arrest him. No, we're not sure that works either... ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.