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Cellphones Privacy

Passport Required To Buy Mobile Phones In the UK 388

David Gerard points out a Times Online story that says: "Everyone [in the UK] 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." We've recently discussed other methods the UK government is using to keep track of people within its borders, such as ID cards for foreigners and comprehensive email surveillance.
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Passport Required To Buy Mobile Phones In the UK

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  • by wellard1981 ( 699843 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:18AM (#25431271)
    When signing up for a new mobile phone contract, you're pretty much asked for two forms of identifications, such as a driving license, passport, utility bills, etc. so this is nothing new. The new part is the national surveillance database. Thank god I'm moving out of this country.
    • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:23AM (#25431311) Homepage

      1. Buy a PAYG phone
      2. Don't bother registering it
      3. Buy top-ups using cash
      4. Anonymity

      Irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The most powerful vote you have is indeed to leave.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by wellard1981 ( 699843 )
        It wouldn't surprise me if this is applied to prepay too.
        • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:36AM (#25431407)

          They've always wanted some form of ID for contract phones -- to do a credit check for a start.

          The news is that it's been suggested pay-as-you-go phones should require ID to purchase. This might catch some stupid criminals, but it's not going to stop terrorists (who will steal a phone, use a foreign one, or buy one second hand).

          • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:44AM (#25431489) Homepage

            Criminals will go back to using payphones and face to face meetings to discuss their criminal activities.
            And stealing phones, since they're already criminals having to steal a phone isn't much of a deterrent.

            • by multisync ( 218450 ) * on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:14PM (#25431665) Journal

              Criminals will go back to using payphones and face to face meetings to discuss their criminal activities

              That's getting harder to do in some places. They're nowhere near as ubiquitous as they once were. The lower numbers also make it easier to keep the remaining payphones under constant surveillance (if they take away your expectation of privacy on your own cel phone, the very notion of an expectation of privacy at a public payphone becomes absurd).

              The great part is they have the tax payer's back to pay for it all.

              So, yes, criminals and - oddly - regular citizens will have to go back to face-to-face conversations to ensure privacy (assuming there are no listening device in that randomly chosen Starbucks they're having their face-to-face conversation in).

            • They are more worried about using phones as remote-controls for bombs.

              Still an example of "pre-crime" and the average citizen should be outraged that the government is using something less dangerous than driving as an excuse to grossly infringe their civil rights.

              Yes, that is correct. Terrorists are much less dangerous than driving to the average western citizen.

            • Stealing phones isn't the smartest thing to do anymore. If it is reported stolen, it can be disabled on the basis of the IMEI-number, they can SMS-bomb you with "This phone has been reported stolen" (they do this in the Netherlands sometimes) and they could track you using triangulation. While triangulation isn't that accurate, it is sufficient to get a start and use local tracking equipment to pin-point you. They could also install/use local tracking in the field. I'm not a criminal, but if I were one, I w

      • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:00PM (#25431595) Journal

        1. Wait in front of mobile-selling location.
        2. Spot mobile-buying victim.
        3. Follow victim for a while.
        4. Club victim on the head, grab bag, run.

        You get: one or more mobile phones and cards, one or more forms of ID, money, credit card(s), car and/or house key(s), one or more packet(s) of tissues, one or more packet(s) of gum, various other bonuses.

        Or are you perhaps one of those pussy terrorists that is afraid of hitting people on the head and only does suicide bombings?

      • by dnwq ( 910646 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:00PM (#25431597)
        The scheme is aimed at PAYG phones! From TFA:

        The move is targeted at monitoring the owners of Britainâ(TM)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.

        The 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.

        Why would it be irrelevant?

      • I'm assuming this is for pay as you go phones too, but you can still just take an hour ferry ride or a 20 minute eurostar ride to france. Purchase said cell phone sans passport. Vodaphone will even charge you the same rate for international calls if you sign up for their passport plan -- plus a 79 eurocent surcharge. "Security" like this only works if the ONLY way to get a cell phone is with a passport -- if foreign phones work you effectively have a loophole
    • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:26AM (#25431345) Journal
      They're talking about pre-pay phones.

      As a result, terrorists are going to run up some hefty roaming charges as they buy foreign pre-pay phones, or just stolen/cloned ones.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HiVizDiver ( 640486 )
        This is modded as "Funny", but the serious undertone is the same as the whole piracy argument. It only makes it more difficult for the legitimate customers. :-/
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mr_lizard13 ( 882373 )
        What if I bought a PAYG phone in France, and just picked up a SIM card in the UK? - Osama
    • I have purchased phones in many countries through out Europe, and Thailand as well, and have always been forced to provide official ID.

      Made the decision not to purchase a phone now that I have moved to the USA, so I have no idea about the States. But since I can't even get through the switchboard at my utility company without my SSN, I imagine it might be difficult to buy a phone or have a contract without ID.

      Of course, that's a guess. Not saying I agree with this regime - just observing a fact.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        You can buy anonymous prepaid phones over the counter using cash without having to provide any information about yourself.

        • by Potor ( 658520 )
          not in thailand anymore ... they stopped that after a few bomb attacks down south and i don't think that's possible in belgium where i last lived ... but i could be wrong
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

      Others have pointed out about PAYG, etc, but:

      The new part is the national surveillance database.

      Indeed, and just to explain to others why this is quite significant: a "passport" will soon be morphed into the National ID Card and Database system []. Although they ultimately want it to be compulsory for all, this is proving controversial, so they're trying to sneak it in the back door by increasing the number of occasions that you'll need an ID card / passport.

      Giving up the right to have a passport is a big sacr

    • by wfeick ( 591200 )

      With the ability to triangulate your location based on your cell signal, this is pretty scary. It used to be the government would show up at political rallies to photograph people and license plates to figure out who the "subversives" were. Now they'll just check the cell tower logs to see whose phones are there.

      It sounds like someone should start working on "Free Mesh" to allow wifi enabled phones to self organize into a communication network at political rallies.

      Here in the US it has been a little harder

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hacker ( 14635 )

        "Sigh. As the saying goes, you have three boxes that help you maintain your freedom: soap box, ballot box, ammo box. Use in that order."

        There are actually four boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Use in that order. Starting NOW.

    • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:31PM (#25431795)

      When signing up for a new mobile phone contract, you're pretty much asked for two forms of identifications, such as a driving license, passport, utility bills, etc. so this is nothing new.

      That's because the mobile phone contract will be collecting money from you for the next 2 years and if you disappear they lose out so they want to know who you are.

      By contrast, you can buy a SIM card with cash with nobody asking who you are (unless the shop is trying its chances at getting an address for their spam mail) because you pay in advance therefore you don't owe any further money to the shop, therefore they don't need to know who you are.


      (1) THIS *IS* NEW (contrary to your attempts to deny it by comparison with what private companies choose to do when they give you credit)

      (2) Why in every civil-liberties story is there always someone to pop-up with a justification based on government's previous bad behaviour?

      * "this isn't so much worse than what they have already" - one step at a time

      * "they were already doing that but illegally, so this isn't new"

      * "some other government is already doing this, so it isn't new"

      * "the other political party agrees with them, so anyone who complains is a hypocrite"

      * "the government did this before [during a war], so it isn't new"

      Just because something resembles authoritarian behaviour of the past doesn't mean it should be accepted, quite the opposite.

    • Typewriters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:32PM (#25431811) Journal

      Anyone remember when typewriters had to be registered in several Eastern European countries? Being mechanical devices, each had its own unique signature (character shapes, weights, and so forth). The idea was to be able to track the origin of unapproved newsletters etc. which were typically produced via typewriter and stencil or carbon paper. This was all rendered irrelevant by the arrival of PC-based communications (a rear-guard action was fought over printers, faxes, and so forth).

      Looks like the UK has just revised those old Soviet-era laws for current technology. Anonymous communication must be considered to be really subversive in the UK.

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:19AM (#25431277) Homepage
    I had a similar problem when I wanted to by a SIM card in provincial Russia last month. The clerk wouldn't give me one, claiming that not only would I have to show a passport, but a Russian passport. I then just asked a friend to buy the damn thing for me. I thought it was stupid considering how, in most of the civilized world, travelers buy a SIM card from a local kiosk as a matter of course. It's sad to see the UK limiting the ease of travel, then.
    • I generally pick up a few pre-pay SIM cards whenever a company with decent rates is giving them away for free. They ask for my name and postal address to send them to me, but that's it. When people visit from abroad, I hand them one so that they don't have to run up a large phone bill calling local numbers (a lot of phone companies charge you for being abroad and then charge the call as if it were international, even when you're talking to someone on the in the same cell). I still have one SIM that's reg
      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) * on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:49AM (#25431517) Homepage
        New Party Game:

        You need n players where the larger the value, the better.
        First Beer: Everybody goes out and buys x prepay cards.
        Second through y Beer: exchange cards with each other in order to randomize x
        Even if you're not profiting, by the time y is > 3 or 4, you will have plausible deniability when it comes time to explain where you got the prepay card from.
        • NOT "Interesting". It's funny, damnit. Or at least it's a weak only-two-cups-of-coffee attempt at making a funny. You realize, Mr. Mod, that when you tag something 'interesting', somebody might believe it. And while I certainly don't want people to think that gratuitous use of alcohol or other mind altering substances is anything but terrible, I'm really get upset when this happens because it then generates a whole sub thread of poor, humor impaired Slashdotters that wander around trying to convince the
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
          Want to have real fun? Get students unions to organise this - in freshers' week, everyone goes and gets a prepay card. They all put them in to a big bucket, and then get one out. For bonus points, get universities to swap them around. Then, when you want a SIM, just go and ask for one from your local university. Of course, as soon as you top up at a cash machine, or with a credit card, it can be tied to you...
          • If you want a pre-paid mobile phone without giving your name and without using violence, just go to the nearest school and offer some money to the kids.
    • by hughk ( 248126 )
      There should be no problems with a major provider, say NWGSM. You still have to give your passport and an address but a hotel used to work fine.
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:22AM (#25431301) Homepage Journal

    Are the USA and the UK in some sort of competition to see who can do the more thorough job of obliterating their citizens' rights to privacy?

    Lately there's been a morbid tit-for-tat article exchange going on here on slash, like the USA and UK are trying to outdo one another. Just when you think the USA or UK is as bad as it gets, there's a reply.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic ( 141991 )
      Are the USA and the UK in some sort of competition to see who can do the more thorough job of obliterating their citizens' rights to privacy?

      The UK has been easily winning that for years. As bad as the US has gotten, the UK is consistently worse.
      • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:40AM (#25431437)

        I just don't understand it.

        Both countries have rich and deep histories of democratic values.

        Where is this coming from? The wealthy? Have they "won the game" and now want to lock it in?

        Or has the military/security complex gotten too big?

        These are now a much bigger threat than terrorism- which might at most kill a few thousand people. If the government goes bad while possessing all these powers, the death count will be much higher. And then you add in the "torture is okay/not really torture" right wing meme that's been building (Thanks! Liberals behind "24" for helping too with that!) -- it gets damn scary.

        • by OriginalArlen ( 726444 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:56AM (#25431567)

          No need to appeal to maliciousness to explain that which can easily be explained by incompetence (the reciprocal of "cockup over conspiracy".) It's a combination of simple-minded headline grabbing by unprincipled politicians (which isn't actually ALL of them, quite yet), plus an infuriatingly vacuous, knee-jerk, reactionary tabloid press which sets the agenda for all mainstream political debate. It's depressing, pathetic, outrageous.

          However as a long-time observer of the UK domestic political scene over the last thirty years or so, I see a lot of straws in the wind suggesting that the tide is turning (pardon the mixed metaphors.) When the shadow Home Secretary resigned to protest a particular high profile issue (42 days in jail without charges), and the "surveillance state" issues in general (CCTV, ID cards, criminal record checks, ubiquitous state databases on the population, security theatre in response to 9/11, etc etc) you KNOW something's up. I noticed that Times story on their front page; it's bagged up so I could only read a couple of lines above the fold, but they managed to get "raising fears amongst privacy campaigners of the surveillance state" in there. Interestingly, a lot of this stuff is actually being picked up by the very same reactionary tabloids that howled about paedophiles, immigrants, crime, terrorism and so on, as a stick to beat the Labour government with! This strikes me as beautifully poetic justice. Brown's picked up a short-term lift on account of how he does look good wearing a dark tie and a solemn expression whilst appearing to save the world from economic catastrophe. However in six months' time, when it becomes apparent that avoiding catastrophe has not meant avoiding 2.5 or 3 million unemployed, that's going to be painted as "rescuing the fat cats". (Don't get me started on the sickening hypocrisy with which the "kick-a-banker" movement has got going over the last couple of months... )

        • by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:01PM (#25431601) Homepage
          Both countries do indeed have rich and deep histories of democratic values, but the average citizen in either country couldn't tell you the first thing about that history. They can recite who won the last 5 seasons of Survivor, and the last celebrity to pull a Basic Instinct while getting out of a taxi, but ask any real question (do we have a state religion? when was "In God We Trust" added to our money? what is the 4th amendment, and why is it important?) and you're likely to be met with either a blank stare, or some disgustingly ill-informed and incorrect answer.

          It's sort of an open question as to WHY this has happened, whether there are people actively trying to promote a strain of proud anti-intellectualism or whether it's just a natural progression, but the end result is that not enough people understand or care about these rights to know and care when they're taken away.
        • Where is this coming from?

          Gotta start getting ready for 2012, just gotta do it, can't let those chinese show them up, right?

          Perhaps the New Labour party is thinking if they become the laughing stock of security during 2012, they risk a quicker return to the wilderness years...

      • Most of the scariest stories, including this one, coming from the UK are proposed plans that the government would have to fight tooth and nail to actually implement. From what I've seen, most of the scary plans in the US actually happen.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nomadic ( 141991 )
          The use of surveillance cameras in the UK dwarfs any similar thing we have in the US. And while both countries have become horrible in this regard, I believe the US has stronger judicial tools to counteract the executive's depredations.
    • It's not tit-for-tat at all: it goes like this. We watch the UK's governments do all the bad stuff they want. Then we cherry-pick the worst of it to implement here, once they've shown that they can get an otherwise-civilized population to accept it. This has the advantage of allowing our leaders to point to the UK and say, "See? Nobody even noticed {insert missing civil liberty here} over there, and better yet, no bombs have gone off so it must be a good thing!" The logic of this escapes me, but it appears
    • Nah, Australia is way out in front. In fact, I think they're lapping the rest of us.

  • by AndGodSed ( 968378 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:29AM (#25431357) Homepage Journal

    ...Cellphone call resgisters YOU!

    Oh, it seems in the UK as well...

  • Ebay has high end phones on it so you can use it.

  • Same here, which is why there are services where you can send prepaid SIM cards and get back a different one, registered to someone else. Some risks might be involved, though.
  • In related news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:34AM (#25431385)
    Cell phone theft and street robberies are about to rise very rapidly in the UK.
  • by AndGodSed ( 968378 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:39AM (#25431433) Homepage Journal

    Someone once asked a while ago how much freedom will we be willing to surrender for a false sense of security.

    It seems that in the US and UK this very scenario is playing itself out and all we can do is sit, horrified and watch in spite of ourselves.

    It's like sitting in the passenger seat of a car that is being driven by a lunatic - you squint your eyes closed but keep peeking because you know what is bound to happen, but you cant help but look and hope you will be somehow wrong.

    And safe.

    One thing proponents of all this gathering of data on people keep forgetting is that data gets lost, stolen or otherwise compromised on a daily basis.

    The UK is a shining example of data getting lost.

    How long before a terrorist hacker steals the info and spoofs a phonecall to a bomb that is detonated via cellphone?

    Suddenly the possibilities of being wrongly implemented in a terrorist plot is so much more possible.

    This is a bad idea all around.

    I am glad that I do not live in the US or the UK - if my country implements this kind of policy I would start browsing using the TOR network, set up my own mailserver to do direct relay and eventually fall back on using older means of communication - snail mail and pretty much nothing else.

    Who is it that said "As soon as we change our way of living the terrorists have won"?

    I tell you now - terrorists are holding the citizens of the US and the UK captive via proxy, and the proxy is ironically the very governments they are battling.

    They win on all fronts at this moment.

    • Why is NO ONE from UK protesting against this monstrous humongous assault on rights and freedom?
      I mean this UK government is incapable of fulfilling everything that people yet is perfectly capable of converting everyone into a criminal and shooting innocent people in subways and the like.
      Why doesn't the stupid holier-than-thou BBC question the government over this massive haul?
      First it was ISP snooping and 3-strikes law, next it was throttling, next it was email provacy gone, next it was bedroom privacy gon

      • Why is NO ONE from UK protesting against this monstrous humongous assault on rights and freedom?

        To answer this and all your other questions - because this isn't a formal government plan yet, it hasn't been published and no-one knows about it. "Government officials" have apparently been talking to some phone companies about it.

        • Published??? As what? Law?
          By then it will be too late my friend.
          I cannot believe that a nation which forged Disraeli, Churchill and Shakespeare will end up in the dustbin of human rights.
          Government officials have a way of making common MPs sway to their demands easily: Haven't you watched Yes Minister?
          Stop before its too late.
          Even during its heyday as Empire, UK cringed when it came to violating people's privacy. There was a time when a Gentleman if stopped on the street for some ID, could whip out a post l

          • It's not even proposed as law yet. It's just an idea. The gov. has a number of committees whos sole purpose is to come up with ideas to see what will fly. 90% of it never ever gets as far as being read in the commons... Slashdot consistently gets this wrong and reports it as if it was a done deal.

            What also happens is the gov. takes an idea and leaks it to see what the public reception would be. This one looks like one of those.. and judging by the reaction on TFA it ain't going anywhere.

      • Largely because we all expect the same outcome as every other time this kind of thing has been proposed. The government awards the contract to EDS. EDS comes back a few years later, massively over-budget, and produces a system which doesn't actually work. Then there's an enquiry, and a few token junior ministers are given a slap on the wrist.

        At least, that's what's happened with every massive citizen database proposal since the '70s. If our government were competent, we'd be scared of them. As it is

        • If ministers are punished harder, then such systems will work better: but that will result in solutions against the people.
          So being lax actually benefits you???
          For once am speechless.

          • In this case, yes. If you would point out the flaws they would fix it, leaving it alone means it will collapse under its own weight of incompetence and greedy consultancies soaking up the budget so there's nothing left for the actual system.

            I call it the "Yes minister" effect.

            The sooner the country loses the incompetent clowns that run it now the better. There is an economy to fix which is presently a LOT more important than this (no, I don't think Brown will "lead the UK out of the crisis" - he's the one

            • I don't know what to say...Incompetency has always been taught as something that harms its victims.
              But in this case it actually benefits victims...
              After Churchill, UK seems to have produced no Great Leader... and no Margaret Thatcher does NOT compute as a great leader. If not for oil in northern fields, UK would never have recovered its decline...
              Margaret thatcher's regime is best left forgotten: It will be unsung, unhonored and unwept. If the present clowns had run UK in 1930s i guess Hitler would have fo

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Admiral Ag ( 829695 )

      Most people aren't sitting horrified watching this. The majority of the population fall into one of two classes: (1) the people who don't like it, but who only vote for economic reasons; and (2) the people who don't care because they think the law only affects "bad" people. (I've deliberately left out the seriously deranged people who vote because the candidate is a "nice man", but they exist).

      The idea that the majority of the populace will rise up and vote out a government that sacrifices their liberty for

      • by jimicus ( 737525 )

        People in Britain don't vote against parties who threaten civil liberties. They vote against parties that threaten their mortgages

        Ah, in that case I think the problem will be solved some time around the next election then.

    • by Bagheera ( 71311 )

      "I tell you now - terrorists are holding the citizens of the US and the UK captive via proxy, and the proxy is ironically the very governments they are battling."

      While I don't disagree that this is part of a long, painful, slide into a pervasive surveylance society in both the US and the UK (moreso in the UK at this point, it seems) and just generally a really bad idea that normal citizens shouldn't be putting up with, I disagree on the "terrorists are winning" because of it.

      Yes, there is the very real argu

  • ...this was the case from the beginning of cell phones. And it is not enough to show some ID, the service providers even photocopy it. I think this is standard practice in most european countries (maybe except the photocopy part).

  • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @11:53AM (#25431553) Journal recognizing fake passports?

    That being a low paying job, I am guessing it employs many immigrants.
    From like... I don't know... Nigeria? []

    And what are the current UK laws on creating and carrying around a obviously fake passport?
    You know... kind that would have big red letters saying "FAKE PASSPORT! NOT REAL! NOT A FORM OF IDENTIFICATION! FOR JOKE PURPOSES ONLY!" on it?

    • And what are the current UK laws on creating and carrying around a obviously fake passport?
      You know... kind that would have big red letters saying "FAKE PASSPORT! NOT REAL! NOT A FORM OF IDENTIFICATION! FOR JOKE PURPOSES ONLY!" on it?

      Who cares? If you're looking to acquire an untraceable mobile phone for criminal purposes, the crime of carrying a fake passport isn't a big deal.

      And getting hold of a pretty convincing fake shouldn't be that hard [].

  • We told you so! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:02PM (#25431605) Homepage Journal

    It was over a decade ago when they were getting happy with CCTV cameras in London. We talked about how creepy that was and that they should be careful that they were not sliding down a slippery slope. We were dismissed, we were laughed at, and now look. We were right.


  • UKers should be in their politician's faces over this. Send an email. Mail a letter. Fax them. Phone them. Preferably all of the above. Political pressure is the only remedy against the constant erosion of your rights.

  • by tangent3 ( 449222 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:23PM (#25431713)

    This would have prevented Jason Bourne from buying a phone and planting it on Simon Ross to talk to him covertly without the CIA being able to trace the call.

    My guess would be the UK government watched the movie and decided this loophole need to be closed.

  • Not a handbook! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:27PM (#25431759)

    Someone needs to tell the PM in England that Orewell's book 1984 was never meant to be a handbook on how to run a country. It was intended to be a warning against such control.

    Sigh.. it's a slippery slope until those in the US begin looking at these with genuine interest, with the intent to deploy these measures within our own borders.

    • PM?? That Brown ?
      That guy can't even decide which way to unzip around to pee, let alone make a tough decision like this.
      Yes, prime Minister is absolutely true.

  • Looking back at my own country after 20+ years of living here in Athens, Greece I really don't recognize it any more.. Fortunately not everyone who ought to know is in favour of this hysterical over reaction - see here [] ...


  • by stereoroid ( 234317 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @12:31PM (#25431791) Homepage Journal
    Another belated movie plot threat [] response. Specifically, The Bourne Ultimatum, in which Bourne arrives at London's Waterloo station and immediately purchases a pre-paid cellphone to give to his journalist contact. If he had to show a passport to buy that phone... he could have been delayed by a couple of seconds, while he decided which of his fake passports to use. Gee.
  • Because the bad guys cannot steal cell phones.

  • It strikes me that ham radio operators world-wide have lived with citizenship requirements from day one. I suspect that would be true of a great many other fixed and mobile services. Why should cell phones be any different?
    • It strikes me that ham radio operators world-wide have lived with citizenship requirements from day one. I suspect that would be true of a great many other fixed and mobile services. Why should cell phones be any different?

      Hmm, don't remember showing anybody my passport when I signed up for my license... But even if they did AND you were a nefarious Evil Criminal bent on Destroying the Western Way of Life, you could just buy any sort of amateur radio gear (or commercial, or marine or for Christ's Sake a C

  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Sunday October 19, 2008 @06:41PM (#25435117)

    I'm not understanding why Britain wants to be so much like North Korea. Britain is trying to create terror in its own civilian population and yet claims to be fighting against terrorism. There's something not right here.

  • by _Shad0w_ ( 127912 ) on Monday October 20, 2008 @01:17AM (#25437673)

    Is there an English speaking country left on this bloody planet which has a sane government? I'm about ready to vote with my feet and quit the UK, assuming I can find anyone stupid enough to take me.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.