Officials said 13 million pre-paid cards are used in Romania and, apart from terrorism, they can be misused in a wide range of illegal activities.
By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest -- 22/08/14
Some in Romania say a new law to register pre-paid SIM cards encroaches on the right to privacy. [AFP]
Romanian authorities said the law is necessary to fight terrorism and the bill was drafted immediately after the 2012 terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, when terrorists used such pre-paid cards.
The Superior Defence Council -- a state body that makes all national security-related decisions -- endorsed the law, saying the SIM cards are serious security vulnerability.
Among regional countries, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey have already implemented SIM card registration. Elsewhere in Europe, Spain introduced mandatory registration after the 2004 terror attacks in Madrid.
The new Romanian law stipulates everybody that already has pre-paid cards must register them within 12 months after the law takes effect on January 1st. It also stipulates those who want to purchase SIM cards next year can do so only with a valid identification card.
Moreover, the law mandates all companies that offer access to wi-fi networks to keep user data for six months. Failing to meet this requirement, a mobile service will be suspended by the operator.
Officials said 13 million pre-paid cards are used in Romania and, apart from terrorism; they can be used in a wide range of illegal activities.