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Belgium bans anonymous prepaid mobile phone SIM cards
A new anti-terror law in Belgium aims to make it impossible for people to buy pay-as-you-go mobile phone SIM cards anonymously.
The measure will be enforced in the autumn and comes as part of the Charles Michel government's strategy in the fight against terrorism. Currently, telecom operators are only aware of the identities of customers who pay for a subscription (or contract) SIM card.
In the near future, prepaid phone users will have their identity revealed to operators as soon as their phone is activated. For a prepaid SIM card to be bought in shops, the buyer's identity card will have to be scanned or photocopied, and subsequently their details will be sent to the operator.
If purchased online, the buyer's identification will need verification using an electronic ID card, an electronic signature or through an electronic payment transaction.
Additionally, users who already own a prepaid phone (before the measure comes into force) have six months to verify their identities to operators.
Telecom operators assure that the identities of their customers will be only made available to police and intelligence services.