A World in Shadows, Burner Phones
Hollywood has a habit of exaggerating concepts and ideas for the sake of entertainment, but one thing they have portrayed to some extent with accuracy is the use of Burner phones. Using a burner phone has skyrocketed since the price of cellphones and cellphone data/minutes has plummeted. Criminals have largely benefited from this and it has caught the attention of Congress and the United States Government. The issue is that burner phones themselves are completely legal and there is little legal action the Government can take to shut down the practice. This has created a world of shadows within the United States, consisting of untraceable phone calls and private communication.
What kind of world do Burner Phones come from?
Burner Phones became popularized by the television show “The Wire”, but their use and appearance can be traced back to the beginning of purchasable phone numbers. The paper trail associated with a land line is massive when compared to modern cell phones. Modern cell phones are easily purchased with cash and require little to no verified personal information to activate. There are even applications now that allow for the creation of burner phone numbers off a central routing location for absolute anonymity. Proxy based internet, Virtual Private networks, and the Darknet are all part of the same world as burner phones.
Why should I care about Burner Phones?
Whether you are a criminal or just a regular citizen, knowing what a burner phone is will help you understand the world around you. Telemarketing companies use proxies routed through fake phone numbers that are the same as burner phones. The art of anonymity is a learned skill, and learning about burner phones is a step in learning the art of anonymity and how to uncover the anonymous.
Does the Government do anything about Burner Phones?
Congress is currently discussing bringing legislation forward regarding burner phone purchasing and tracking. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that technology is years beyond legislature. Phone number creation is a technological barrier that political measures can not regulate. Obtaining information regarding the phone number creator is a different story, and hopefully Congress makes the appropriate steps to do things right.
The world of shadows created by anonymous communication is vast and unstoppable. Humans have a knack for private communication ever since language was created. Coded languages are basic forms of encryption. The idea of anonymous communication can not be stopped by legislature or Government intervention. Any system built to penetrate a private network will immediately become obsolete because the private network can simple change and be recreated. There are shadowy types in this world that use burner phones to communicate.