ALL mobile phones will have to be registered as part of a Government plan to improve surveillance on drug dealers.This policy is a nonsense. But don't take my word for it. Here's an email which Antoin received from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in January of this year:
Currently, any person can buy a pay-as-you-go mobile phone anonymously, which makes it harder for the gardai to track those involved in the drugs trade.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, new Drugs Minister Pat Carey said registry would help to tackle the "rampant use" of mobile phones in prisons, as well as small-time dealers working in the "shopping-centre carpark, the church car park or the local football field".
"If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear. There may well be confidentiality or civil liberties issues but there are lives of people at stake as well, which I believe overrides any of those."
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.Incidentally, I'd be intrigued to know how this will stop the "rampant use of mobile phones in prisons". Perhaps Pat Carey might think about preventing prisoners from having mobile phones in the first place?