Mobile recharging station operators in India sell tens of thousands of women's phone numbers to stalkers

Originally published at:


Gosh, i wonder if the reason it’s so common is that the perpetrators aren’t punished.

Nah, couldn’t be.


Yet another example of how requiring id to purchase a cellphone sim ends up enabling crime rather than stopping it - and actual criminals just use fake id anyway. Mexico tried out a similar scheme and ended up cancelling it after 3 years because it didn’t make a dent in crime.


Really shady, really shady. What he said was really shady…


I’m not quite sure what to feel about the fact that entreprenurially monetizing user data, with a callous disregard for the impact on the user, is apparently a universal from the commanding heights of arrogant silicon valley billionaires to the humblest sleazy cell kiosks of Uttar Pradesh.

Normally the go-to cliche for stuff like this is something about what brings us all together; or how we are really not so different after all; but that tends to get hauled out for good things; not for petty, sordid, mercenary, cruelty.


Typical self-interest with total disregard for how it affects others.

1 Like

Well, that’s creepy as fuck.


Time to turn the hunters into the hunted.

(Am imagining a sting operation where the Rs 500 women use a (police owned) cell phone for charge-up, and then setup dates with the marks to meet with the men and women in blue, followed by the women in robes in court rooms.)


So these guys spend $7.50 (or so) for the privilege of sending a nasty message to someone? What a world.

And even if there are so many scumbags doing this that you could never catch them all, how about catching a hundred of them and calling it a start?



Police Solution: if the police wanted to reduce this behavior, they’d create a police phone bank of numbers and plant them at suspect vendors. they’d make the fine a big one and profit off of enforcement, leading to increased arrests, prosecutions, and incarcerations. this would through fear of the above and the thinning of those caught act as a deterrent, reducing the number of people committing this crime. it will also drive up its cost/value, less people will be doing it for more money, but it will never go away, only be managed.

Corporate Solution: Create a product they can sell out of fear to women that protects them from receiving theses types of calls. Profit off of the problem that requires a solution that only will sell so long as the problem exists. Strikes deals with government to keep these markets as grey areas, and keep it at whatever level that maximizes their profits yet doesn’t garner public outrage.

Government Solution: Increase taxes on these types of businesses. Create additional regulations and laws to enable police enforcement efforts so that they can go after small operators, while turning a blind eye to bigger operators whom they profit off of and whom benefit from the small players being pushed out.

Good Government Solution: if a good government leader wanted to reduce this behavior, they’d install free public recharging stations, possibly even solar powered stations. this would stop the problem and positively provide a valuable resource to all these communities. everyone will benefit, especially those without access to their own means of charging for whatever reason. it will cost less then increasing police resources and maybe they can use the leftover money to print free harassment education brochures and fund women’s shelters. they can even use the extra police time to better enforce crimes against women and protect the public.

hint: the first three have mutual benefit, so they have a conspiracy not of collusion but of mutual interest, which is why we so seldom see the last one.


[sarcasm] But create something for free!? For the public people to use, without any rent extracted? What are you, some kind of socialist? These brave entrepreneurs have found a valuable niche and resource to exploit for their personal benefit, and that’s the highest possible good! [/sarcasm]


That is a very important remark, and it is even worse than that. These guys indeed spent 7.50$ at the current exchange rate, but that value also needs to be adjusted to purchasing power, which is at least about 5 times lower in India than in the USA. Basically, these guys earn 5 times less than you, but 7.50$ will also get them a dinner that would cost you 5 times more in the USA, so 37.50$.

Basically, these guys are ready to invest about 40$ for an attractive woman and 4$ for an ugly one (in the eye of the seller) and this just for the privilege of sending her offensive pictures.

It sounds crazy until one checks the price of dating sites in the USA and what the average man uses them for.


This seems helpful for those able to craft.

1 Like

On a similar note, I carry one of these:
Full data prophylactic, enables fast charge and switches between standard/Apple/Samsung varients as needed. Also, it’s available in bright red, so I tend not to lose it when I drop it.
(OTOH, yours looks much cooler, and I approve. :slight_smile: )


Not mine. I do not travel so do not have need. However even if I did I do notsve anyway. I would want to get if I went con traveling.

Roger that - sorry for the assumption. I agree that USB charging prophylactics are useful things.

[Edit]An unexpected bonus use is for charging from PCs with locked-down device policies, as they don’t mount as an intelligent device.

1 Like

People did computational simulations of this sort of thing hoping to understand effective enforcement in a situation where there’s universal corruption, and it turns out that you need to operate in a Wrath-of-God mode. You don’t arrest everyone but, instead, you arrest randomly and exact very severe penalties. Once a certain saturation point is passed you get mass honesty. I’d quite like to see that tried in this case for… scientific reasons. Yeah. Scientific. :slight_smile:

I also find it fascinating that, as @AndreStmaur said, they are paying the equivalent of $40-or-so just for a phone number. That’s a sign of some sort of deep social dysfunction[1] if this is the best way they can imagine of striking up a relationship.

[1] There’s too much of this to dismiss them all as empathy-challenged sociopaths, so some of them are, presumably, some of them are otherwise sane people which makes you wonder what broke them so effectively and in such large numbers.


But do they use that number as a way to strike up a relationship? To me it seems similar to men sending pictures of their private parts in dating sites, they cannot really believe it will work, so probably their motivation is not success.

1 Like

Is a Mobile recharging station just somewhere to recharge the phone battery?

If so then this problem might be solved simply by women creating there own recharging stations.
It might also be a good way to initiate support networks and information.