Belgian Government Cracks Down On Anonymous SIM Cards

A lot of consumers value their anonymity, and buying an anonymous sim card is a great way to achieve that goal. But in Belgium, that situation will come to change, as holders of an anonymous sim card will need to verify their identity soon. Failure to do so will result in the user being cut off by the phone service provider. In the future, anonymous sim cards will be banned from the country entirely.

Another Move To Strip Privacy In Belgium

According to statistics provided to us, roughly one million Belgians use anonymous sim cards these days. To be more precise, this involves the owners of prepaid sim cards, which can be obtained without submitting identity verification right now. That situation will come to change, as users will need to verify their identity first, or find alternative solutions.

It looks as if this new ruling will go into effect later this year. Once identity verification becomes mandatory to buy prepaid cards, users can use their government-issued ID card in stores. The online sales of prepaid sim cards will be affected as well, as users will need to identify themselves through the eID.

Users who decide not to verify their anonymous sim cards will see services blocked after six months. Obtaining such a card in other countries is still possible, albeit the German government is working on a new legislative proposal to prohibit anonymity as well. It is not unlikely the rest of the European Union will follow this example in the coming years.

As was to be expected, this proposal was approved due to its potential impact on terrorist activity. Anonymous sim cards pose a “national security risk”, and had to be addressed. At the same time, this decision affects regular consumers as well, albeit it remains to be seen if this will be considered as a negative consequence.

Bitcoin usage in Belgium is still relatively small, although buying cryptocurrency through an ATM is possible. Users can verify their identity through a mobile phone number, but anonymous sim cards will no longer be an option come 2017. It is doubtful this decision will impact Bitcoin usage in Belgium, though.

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