19 October 2008

Madness Begets Madness

This is where the madness of authoritarianism leads:

Everyone 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.

Phone buyers would have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase. Privacy campaigners fear it marks the latest government move to create a surveillance society.

A compulsory national register for the owners of all 72m mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat terrorism and crime. Whitehall officials have raised the idea of a register containing the names and addresses of everyone who buys a phone in recent talks with Vodafone and other telephone companies, insiders say.

The move is targeted at monitoring the owners of Britain’s estimated 40m prepaid mobile phones. They can be purchased with cash by customers who do not wish to give their names, addresses or credit card details.

This is another reason why the super-duper snooper database is madness: to make it even vaguely workable, the government must try to plug all these loopholes. But plugging one - pay-as-you-go mobiles - only highlights the next. In this case, it's pay-as-you-go mobiles from *abroad*. The logic of the super-duper snooper database means that people will be forced to register every mobile as they come into the UK. But this will simply create a black market for used mobile phones, so then the UK government will have to make *those* illegal. And then people will turn to encrypted VoiP, so that will be made illegal, and so on, and so forth.

Why don't they just implant chips in us at birth at be done with it?


Anonymous said...

don't tempt them!!!

Glyn Moody said...

They'd never dare....

Hey, what are you doing with that big pointy surgical implement, officer?