A federal appeals court recently struck down action from Puerto Rico to gather a list of prepaid mobile phone users, bringing down a law made to find users who use prepaid phones for criminal activities.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, responsible for hearing cases from any U.S. domain, said the Puerto Rican law is in conflict with a federal law that prevents wireless phone carriers from offering consumer data to the government without a subpoena.
The Puerto Rican law, created in December 2011, enables all local phone carriers and other retail stores selling prepaid mobile phones to include names, alternate contact numbers, and address of people who buy the devices and to transfer such data to the Puerto Rico government.
The Puerto Rico government passed the law as a result of increased reports of criminals utilizing prepaid phones for extortion and making threats to innocent civilians.
A trade group representing wireless companies sued the Telecommunications Regulatory Board in Puerto Rico to reverse the statute.