First we had "offshore banking," the places the wealthy put their money.
Then we had "offshore wagering," the establishment of gaming operations in countries who were happy to have the business to improve their tax base so gamblers could place bets without oversight from the government and taxing authorities. Well now in the UK, if the Government has their way, all mobile phones, both contract and Pay As You Go, will need to be registered, and tied to your passport, the Times of London reported today.
Now, the use of some form of identity to obtain a mobile phone or SIM is nothing new. In Spain, you need to present your passport. In France a bank account in France and a utility bill or some proof of residency (anywhere) is required for contract phones.
The way I look at this is that honest people have nothing really to hide, so much like other forms of registration there really isn't much to be concerned about. It's much like registering your automobile or motorcycle.
But, I'm not so blind to reality, and reality means we will see the rise of the offshore mobile account, where low calling rates via roaming make it possible to be "unregistered" while staying connected. It's bound to happen...The question is, who will be first at it?
Second update--Dean Bubley, the brightest of mobile analysts I hang out with in London, has a very good update on how this impacts PAYG (Pay as You Go SIM) customers.