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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The onward march of the surveillance state

According to The Sunday Times everybody who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance. They say that phone buyers will have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase.

This compulsory national register for the owners of all 72 million mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat terrorism and crime. The reason is to monitor the owners of Britain’s estimated 40 million prepaid mobile phones, which can be purchased with cash by customers who do not wish to give their names, addresses or credit card details. These pay-as-you-go phones are popular with criminals and terrorists because their anonymity shields their activities from the authorities, but they are also used by thousands of law-abiding citizens who wish to communicate in private.

The purpose of this database is to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain. That is a disproportionate response to the threat we face and in effect a capitulation to it. What the Government is saying is that the terrorists have succeeded in destroying our basic liberties and our way of life. Even senior officials in the Home Office are reported to have privately warned that the database scheme is impractical, disproportionate and potentially unlawful.

As some of the comments to this article suggest, the real terrorists will find a way around these measures, using stolen phones instead for example. It is law abiding citizens who will be most inconvenienced and whose privacy will be compromised by these measures.


They think the electorate is going to blindly roll over and allow this? I forsee polltax-esque riots.

Thing is, they won't stop terrorism by this method. Terrorists will just buy a phone on the black market, like they buy guns etc. Back of a lorry, no questions asked. Unless, by some process of elimination, anyone who isn't registered is automatically a suspect. My gran doesn't have a mobile phone, does that mean she won't be on the mobile phone register, and thereby an enemy of the state?

I dunno, the sooner we break away from this loony London government the better.
It's a non-starter. ASDA and Tesco won't allow it.
I'd not worry too much, the Govt would soon lose the database.
Since "our" state has to impose such punitive measures, like the introduction of ID cards, producing Passports and Driving Licences to buy mobile phones; I would suggest that the Terrorist has now won!!!!!!!!!!!

I've even been requested to provide my fingerprints to prove who I’M NOT by the pathetic Criminal Records Bureau.

Just one comment to make to Gordon Brown, Joseph Stalin would be proud of you.

One major flaw in this means of “Combating Terrorism”, identity fraud, with so many records of personal details being lost by various (Government) departments I’m sure it’s easy enough to get hold of someone else’s personal details, and thus be able to get a duplicate passport as well as duplicate driving licence.

Gary Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
The UK is about to get yet another lesson in "the law of unintended consequences".

This means YOUR mobile phone is about to get a whole new value to criminals.

Muggings/theft will increase dramatically, and let's hope that's the worst that happens. Heaven forbid that people start getting killed because their mobile phone has developed a whole new value.

The ineptitude of this government is frightening.
Sounds like a "floater" to me, probably won't happen.
Every reason for these measures to be introduced; the government has been scraping the bottom of the barrel for years for ideas.

Why not introduce this in the name of "defeating terrorism" to deflect from the appauling situation the economy is in.
The fact that terrorists and other criminals will circumvent the provision with ease will not prevent ZanuLabour from pressing ahead because they know that perfectly well.
Their objective is to have a database containing as many details as possible about the rest of us. Why? Because it extends the power of the state over the individual which has always been a ZanuLabour wet dream.
I'm packing my bags and moving to liberal Iran, l8r's
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