A ban on pre-paid non-personalized SIM cards will simply move the trade underground rather than eliminate fraudulent calls and crime carried out with them, a lawyer believes. The Ministry of Interior said on Friday it is discussing the policy
Lawyer Karmen Turk told Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" she is not convinced of the new policy's effectiveness.
"It is up to each country to decide what is the right balancing point for us. And let's face it, we have Russia next door, they have found their point, North Korea has its point, South Korea has its point. We have our point. Where is the right balance for our society? We can't have full security anyway. Whether this measure, in particular, will help to increase security at all without significantly restricting our freedom, I certainly doubt today," she said.
This will affect any normal people that need anonymity in their work or personal life but will have little impact on criminals, Turk said.
"Now, just because it is forbidden it does not mean that a criminal will not go about their business. Then they will get that SIM card from the black market, which is bound to happen. It has emerged in all countries that have banned them," said Turk.
Telecommunications company Tele2 said the new rule would make using SIM cards a little more inconvenient.
"It will definitely take time. It means that we have to interface with all our partners' systems, how the data is collected and what data protection it has. It's certainly not a quick process," said Henry Murumaa, Tele2's private customer services area manager.
The ministry initially raised the issue three years ago and it was not supported by politicians at the time.
Undersecretary for internal security at the Ministry of Interior Veiko Kommusaar said the policy is currently being fine-tuned and will then be sent for approval.
The ministry justifies the policy by claiming this will limit fraudulent calls and crime.
"It is not a question, as far as SIM cards are concerned, of us wanting to take SIM cards away from anybody. No, people are perfectly free to keep their SIM cards. It is a question of putting a name on the SIM card, about who owns it," he told "Aktuaalne kaamera".
In Estonia, there are approximately 20 percent more SIM cards than mobile phone contracts.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright