By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Government plans are currently being drawn up which will see customers having to produce their passport if they want to buy a pre-paid mobile phone in Great Britain. The details on that passport would then be registered on a new database set up to tackle crime and terrorism.
Currently, if you buy a pre-paid phone in Great Britain, you can pay in cash and not have to show any form of identification. This makes pre-paid phones highly popular with criminals and terrorists who can buy a mobile without leaving any traces, use it a few times, then throw it away.
But now the government wants to change all that by requiring all mobile phone buyers to show a passport or another “official form of identification” which I suppose would include something like a driving licence.
Needless to say, the civil rights campaigners are up in arms over it, quoting “1984”, “slippery slope” and all the other usual analogies and the liberal politicians are promising not to vote for it when it comes before parliament.
Personally, I can see the one gaping hole in the plan right away – if a criminal or terrorist knows that they can’t buy a phone in the shops anymore, they’ll probably just steal one instead. Can you imagine the huge black market in stolen mobile phones that will spring up if this law is passed?
What do you think? If this law was passed in your country, how would you feel about it? Necessary to defeat crime and terrorism or just another government excuse to extend their reach into your life?