Feeds

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

Here is your new BlackBerry, Winston Smith

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.