That said, some want to defend anonymity not for criminal reasons but simply because they appreciate their privacy. Others might legitimately worry about how such a law could prevent a poor person without ID from accessing a phone that he might need for job interviews among other things. Yet others might worry that such a law could led to wrongful convictions.
I can see a few solutions to these dilemmas.
Firstly, we could require a person to register a prepaid smart device (such as a smartphone, a tablet, or any other device that can access the internet). This would mean that since one would not need to register a prepaid feature phone (aka dumb phone) or other device that does not give him internet access and would not need to register a prepaid SIM card either, any person who truly wants to maintain his privacy would still have the option of buying a prepaid feature phone and SIM card. Since such devices have no internet access though, the range of crimes that can be committed using them would be much more limited than those that can be committed through internet access.
Secondly, we could allow a person to register a prepaid smart device in one of three ways:
1. By presenting valid photo ID.
2. By providing his fingerprints.
3. By providing a passport-quality picture of himself.
While such a policy would still allow many loopholes (for example, by having a criminal limit himself to unregistered prepaid feature phones and SIM cards and, at least until attrition takes its toll, by buying second-hand smartphones to anonymously access the internet, and allowing a criminal whose fingerprints the police does not have access to to register his phone under a false name using his fingerprints), it would still help the police in at least some cases and make criminals' jobs at least somewhat more difficult than they are now.
I know that terrorism is not a common occurrence, but such a law could still help to make it even less so.
As for the concern over wrongful convictions, a simple solution would be to make the registration of a prepaid device inadmissible as proof at a hearing. This would mean that while such a database could help police in a criminal investigation by providing them with tips, the police would still need to then collect other proof beyond simple registration to ensure that the crime was not committed on a lost, stolen, or cloned phone or on a phone that might have been given to someone as a gift, etc.
In spite of the extreme limitations and loopholes of such a law, it would still provide the police with at least some useful information in crime investigations that they might not be able to access easily now.
Your thoughts on this?