If you want to pass a law for its instrumental value, then you need make a case that it's actually going to work.
If this law works as intended, what would success look like? Maybe one of these things:
- Actually intercepting terrorists' communications before an attack?
- Actually intercepting terrorists' communications during an attack?
- Making it so terrorists can only communicate by ways other than cell phone during a terrorist attack?
- Making it so we can easily identify terrorists who used a cell phone during a terrorist attack after the attack is done?
Or something else I haven't thought of?
Are we already achieving any of those things by other means in some cases? If so, when aren't we, and would the law help us with that?
As background for figuring out if we will achieve our goal(s), let's get some more info about the world.
Currently terrorists purchase prepaid phones without ID and use them before and during terrorist attacks. If the proposed law was in effect, what would they do instead?
- Would they still be able to acquire a cellphone from a retailer without actually identifying themselves?
- Also, are there any other ways that a terrorist could obtain cellphones without identifying themselves?
If you want people to think up ideas about that you've probably come to the right place.
* Giving fake info to an online retailer
* Giving another person's info to an online retailer
* Paying an unrelated third party (e.g. a homeless person) to buy a phone and give it to them
* Stealing phones
Supposing that none of that worked and the terrorists lost access to anonymous phones, and they changed their practices, would they change them in a way that would achieve the goal?