Mexican Government Seeks to Register All Cell Lines

The federal government of Mexico is requiring all cell phone lines in the country to be registered in a central database with identifications of their users.  Most cell phones in Mexico are not operated on contracts with carriers, so the government has no means to identify the user of a particular number.  This is proclaimed as an attempt to fight crime syndicates.  From AFP:

Tens of thousands of Mexico residents could have their cell phones cut off this weekend for failing to register their numbers under a government scheme to tackle organized crime.

Congress voted in the move last year in a bid to reduce widespread crimes, particularly extortion and ransom demands, carried out via untraceable cell phones.

If cell phone users fail to register by Saturday midnight, “their line will be suspended with no responsibility from their service provider,” the Federal Telecommunications Commission said on its Internet site.

Out of around 79 million registered lines, just under 55 million had been registered by Thursday, or 66 percent, according to the commission.

Thousands rushed to register by SMS or on the Internet as the deadline loomed, but bottlenecks slowed down the process and some — including Mexicans without birth certificates and foreigners without Mexican identity numbers — were unable to comply.

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