10/23/2008 8:30:00 AM
Passports for prepay customers? not likely
I think the government's so-called proposals to require mobile customers to present their passports at the point of purchase are hilarious. As a scheme, it sounds about as well well thought out as the idea of hauling off drunks to cashpoint machines to pay fines and expecting them to remember their pin numbers when they are trying not to throw up on their shoes.
The ‘proposals’ were supposedly leaked in the Sunday Times at the weekend, and immediately drew a very po-faced response from Vodafone, which thundered on behalf of consumers that the government list creating a digital divide. The reality is the mobile industry is not keen on any kind of registration at the tills because it would limit sales. This was amply demonstrated around 18 months ago when the Home Office asked operator CEOs to consider registration at point of sale in a bid to stamp down on street crime. Not likely was the response.
Vodafone has a point, however. The scheme is totally unworkable. Firstly, not everyone takes foreign holidays and therefore has a passport. Second - and do you think the government possibly overlooked this one? - if Al Qaeda operatives can build a bomb, they can certainly manage to rustle up as few forged documents.
This measure would not deter any international terrorist worth his or her salt. It might however stop box breaking in its tracks. You'd think this might be good news to the networks, however they still are inclined to turn a blind eye to false connections as they are convenient means of getting quick hit sales.
However neither box breakers nor international terrorists need quake in their boots, this ‘plan’ is never a likely to see the light of day. If 42 day detention did not make it onto the statute book, nor will prepay registration in Carphone, Tescos and Woolies.