Feeds

Govt ponders proof-of-ID law for future phone purchases

Here is your new BlackBerry, Winston Smith

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The bother of choosing between an 18-month contract or a high up-front price may soon be the least of your worries when buying a new mobile phone, because you may soon be required to prove your identity before you're allowed a new handset.

The government is said to be drawing up plans to force all UK mobile phone buyers to provide some form of identification, such as a passport or identity card - see where this is going? - before being be allowed to take delivery of, say, a shiny new iPhone or BlackBerry Storm.

When you get your phone, the fact will be recorded by the Government, which will presumably make an explicit link between phone numbers and users' ID documents.

A spokeswoman from the office of Richard Thomas, the Government’s Information Commissioner, told the Times that the requirement would apply to both contract and pay-as-you-go phones.

The passport-for-phone proposal could be added to the draft Communications Data Bill, the spokeswoman added.

In May, the Government published a copy of the Bill for public consultation - the scrutiny period ended on 6 August.

According to the Government, the purpose of the Bill is to "allow communications data capabilities for the prevention and detection of crime and protection of national security to keep up with changing technology". That involves "the collection and retention of such data, including data not required for the business purposes of communications service providers".

It said "strict safeguards" will be put in place "to strike the proper balance between privacy and protecting the public".

However, "unless the legislation is updated to reflect these changes, the ability of public authorities to carry out their crime prevention and public safety duties and to counter these threats will be undermined", the Government warned.

If the Government chooses to go ahead with the Bill - with or without the mobile phone registration option - the move will formally announced during the Queen's Speech on 3 December 2008.

Network operator Vodafone has already spoken to Whitehall officials about the plans, the paper said, as have other mobile phone firms.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.