Sunday, October 19, 2008

Identity documents required to purchase mobile phones!

As I perused the newspaper online, I was saddened to learn that GCHQ wants a database of all mobile phone owners. I have two words to say to this: "Low Battery".

Here is a list of reasons why it might be a good idea:

1) When your calls are intercepted and your location identified, GCHQ will also be able to determine who you are and who the person you are talking to is. So if you are a criminal/terrorist then beware... unless you got your mobile second hand... or swapped with a friend... or found a way to unlock the phone... yeah...nevermind then.

Here is a list of reasons why it might be a bad idea:

1) If you are innocent the state will be able to track your movements. Wherever you carry your phone, it sends out a signal, even when switched off. With the authorities now able to track a mobile phone's location very accurately (within 100 yards), if you're travelling, you can wave goodbye to privacy.

2) If you are innocent it will now be possible for the state to have a complete record of all your phone calls and identify it to a person, much in the same way as they do for land lines.

3) If you are innocent, it's another nail in the coffin for your privacy. When coupled with all the other surveillance legislation and proposals, such as the database of all communications, it makes it harder to live life without being spied upon constantly. Whereas government departments previously have had to ask for your mobile phone number, now it won't make the slightest difference.

Alas how now can one travel without being continually monitored? Trains/stations have CCTV and ticket tracking, buses have CCTV and, if using Oyster, ticket tracking as well. Car number plates are recorded by the vast ANPR surveillance network cameras, all airports already have very sophisticated surveillance systems.

This measure is further authoritarianism in an age when liberty should be flourishing. Why is the government so happy and willing to throw away the freedom of its innocent citizens? Specifically show me where I consented to this severe breach of trust. We wouldn't tolerate it if a business was this intrusive, so why can the state get away with it?

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