Feeds

Swiss move to block Al Qaeda mobile phone supply

It's not just the clocks, then?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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... ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.