Say no to a mobile phone register

DRI opposes Government proposals to introduce mandatory registration of mobile phones. These proposals will infringe on the privacy of every mobile phone user, as well as being expensive, impracticable and ineffective. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s what the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources had to say in January:

The idea for a Register of mobile phones was extensively reviewed by officials in the Department. There were many complex legal, technical, data protection and practical issues to be considered. In theory, a Register of mobile phones might seem like a good idea. However, having looked at the situation in other administrations, considered the ease with which an unregistered foreign or stolen SIM card can be used and the difficulties that would be posed in verifying identity in the absence of a national identification card system, and having consulted with the Office of the Attorney General and other interested parties, it was concluded that the proposal would be of limited benefit, in that it would not solve the illegal and inappropriate use of pre-paid mobile phones and was not practical.

As the earlier Communications comments suggest, the current proposals don’t appear to have given any thought to some fundamental issues:

    What’s to stop purchasers giving false details?
    What’s to stop drug dealers from using phones belonging to others?
    What about phones bought before the register comes into effect?
    Stolen phones?
    Foreign SIM cards?

Not to mention the most important question: how can a failed drug policy justify treating the entire population as suspects?

Let the government know what you think of these proposals. You can contact Pat Carey (the responsible junior minister) here and the Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan here.