Sunday, June 15, 2008

Big Brother gets in on the Telecom Game

If you've traveled before and bought a SIM card for your international phone (since the US refuses to join the GSM revolution and provide customers with phones that can be used elsewhere) you probably had to give them a photocopy of your passport. Well, now Egyptians have to provide identification to use their phones as well.

"The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority requested that mobile phone operators block service to anonymous subscribers as a public security measure. Vodafone, Mobinil and Itisalat have reportedly started disabling text-messaging capabilities for anonymous subscribers. The measure has affected several hundred thousand customers who did not register their names and addresses when they bought phone lines."

Critics claim this is to monitor political opposition - so phones used to send mass SMS messages to organize protests/strikes, etc. can be monitored. Regimes are always a little behind politically motivated youth in discovering technologically sophisticated ways to engage in political opposition - looks like they're finally catching up.

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