You'll need a passport to buy a mobile phone in the UK

The proposal to create a British giga-database tracking every phone call, text-message, public transit usage, CCTV capture, purchase, educational experience, medical detail, plane or train ride, toll-usage, and other transactions continues to show its absurdity. The Times's David Leppard has noticed that the legislation will also require people who buy mobile phones in the UK to present a passport and have it registered with their number. Note that even in China, throwaway prepaid SIMs are the norm -- the UK proposal makes China look like a bastion of privacy and good government.

Terrorists will just buy phones abroad and roam on them in the UK, of course.

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.

The move is targeted at monitoring the owners of Britain’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.

Passports will be needed to buy mobile phones