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Disposable Cell Phone Sales Increased Since NYT Leak

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posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 06:17 PM
Officials in several communities in the United States have noticed a trend of increased sales in disposable cell phones. These disposable phones are difficult to trace since the purchaser does not need to use any form of identification to buy them. All one has to do is pay out cash for a phone that is pre-loaded with minutes for whatever purpose you wish. The sharp increase in the sales of these phones comes after the New York Times leaked the story on how the National Security Association (NSA) was monitoring phone communications for terrorist activity. Many people observed purchasing large lots of these phones are of middle eastern origin. Are these phones being used to plan terrorist activity?
Federal agents have launched an investigation into a surge in the purchase of large quantities of disposable cell phones by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan, ABC News has learned.

"The application of prepaid phones for nefarious reasons, is really widespread. For example, the terrorists in Madrid used prepaid phones to detonate the bombs in the subway trains that killed more than 200 people," said Roger Entner, a communications consultant. The FBI is closely monitoring the potentially dangerous development, which came to light following recent large-quantity purchases in California and Texas, officials confirmed.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Read the story carefully and ask yourself, why someone would have a reason for owning 150 disposable cell phones. The minutes on the phones can be refilled easily and refilling the minutes on the phone would enable you to keep the same number. Constantly swapping phones would make it difficult for others to contact you. The only advantage is of course if you didn't want to be traced.

If it wasn't strange enough to purchase phones in batches of 100, it's also odd to add the fact that some of these individuals are linked to terror cells. In light of the recent leak by the New York Times that the NSA monitors phone conversations, you have to be suspicious of people that are going out of their way to be untraceable. California and Texas are mentioned in this story, but I think that everyone needs to be on the alert for suspicious activity such as this.

Related Discussion Threads:
Americans divided on the issue of security and privacy.
Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11

[edit on 14-2-2006 by DJDOHBOY]

posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 07:35 PM
The technology employed by NSA will not care if they have disposable phones or not, it doesn't work by ID'ing the phone itself--although it can. I noticed a couple of news articles today on lawsuits filed against NSA by the ACLU and someone else. This topic doesn't want to die.

[edit on 17-1-2006 by Astronomer68]

posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 07:54 PM
This hits a little close to home, because the same thing was going on in Hemet, California where I used to live. Four Middle eastern men tried to by over One hundred prepay phones.These phones would be less tracable to the owner(i.e. no Sprint PCS account), but the NSA would still be able to find out what is going on.
Echelon is capable of intercepting all forms of communication and homing in on key words (i.e. bomb, jihad, Osama, etc.). In fact, i'm sure this message will make it to an analysist at the NSA@@@@@@HI!!!!!@@@@@@@.
Notwithstanding, keep in mind that Echelon can "home" in on languages such as Arabic and Pharsee.

posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 08:00 PM
What I don't like is they are trying to pass laws now that a person would have to show ID to buy even one of these untraceable phones. THATS CRAP!

If I want to buy an untraceable phone, even though i know it will still go thru echelon and my conversations will be monitored, I should still be able to buy one.

Buying 50 at a time should be checked out, I agree. Buying one for your personal use should be just another transaction and beyond the pervue of bigbrother.

Slowly but surely we are losing every last vestige of privacy.

Just my thoughts,


posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 08:38 PM
Interesting. I think some questions should be probed before leaping to any conclusions based on coincidence.

Were sales trending up before?

Are large purchases common among shop owners, like currency exchange stores, independent convenience stores (they do still exist in many places), and so on?

I can imagine cab drivers buying hundreds of the things if they're cheaper than using a single phone. I rode in a cab once in Chicago with an Indian driver, and he had his brother or cousin (I can't remember) on speaker the whole trip. They weren't very talkative, but I imagine the company was nice in between fares. Dude told me they were both cab drivers and had this system to protect themselves. If one got in trouble the other would hear it.

Anyway, just trying to come up with some reasonable explanations. I hope that in my lifetime I never see a guy get lynched for being a terrorist because he happened to be middle-eastern looking, and talking on a phone. Obviously this isn't what's going on now, things aren't at that level yet, thankfully. If another large attack on American soil took place, however, I could see things getting really out of control, really quick.

posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 10:08 PM
Well, TracFone has a deal where you purchase a phone for $20 and you get 40 min of airtime with it. That comes up to 50 cents a min. which is way, way above the cost of re-filling the same phone with new minutes. There's no explination for why you would throw away each phone when done.

As far as trends go, it looks as if most carriers are having a difficult time making it work. The information out there on Tracfone is sketchy,
I'll do a little more research to try and pin down earnings results for the last quarter of 2005, but the information is not the easiest to find.

I did find this information Tracfone is owned by America Movil SA which has a holding company named America Telecom SA (AMTELA1 MM) All this nesting of companies makes it difficult to get earnings reports.

[edit on 17-1-2006 by dbates]

posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 10:20 PM
This will just slow surveillance a bit, but not cause it to a major problem, these phones are used extensively in the drug trade and other criminal organization and law enforcement still finds way to crack these guys, so I dont think NSA is going to have much problems with these. Bulk buying of these phones should be flagged though, this has been a trend in the drug trade for years, I remember seeing disposable phones with semi-organize dealers as far back as ’99/’00, I’m sure these guys would have found out about this even with out the NYT story, though we do have to be careful about just how much we give out in our press to our enemies. It's like the whole NSA spying case, we lost a major tactical edge by that program being expose, we lost a lot more than what we would have lost here (domestic spying) I mean they should have a wider judicial supervision to keep it focus to people actually calling out of the country to the middle east and out hot spots. Understand the potential for abuse and all but like some people have said why would you be calling al-queda in the first place?

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