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Friday, March 16th, 2012, 12:07 am

Using a Phone Anonymously in the UK


THOSE WHO KNOW history will appreciate the importance of civil rights. Those who saw the Berlin Wall built will possibly recall all that was learned about the Stasi for example.

In this age of crackdown on journalism and on civil liberties in the UK (simply censorship and gagging) we ought to be aware of the power of those who run the country. They are very rich people. The surveillance gives them more power. While CCTV is impossible to dodge, phones are not obligatory for most people. Phones are surveillance devices, but phones has other features, calls included. Those entice people into carrying tracking devices (walking along with them) and always leaving those switched on, with an identity attached to them (just like a landline). There are other problems with mobile phones.

I have several mobile numbers and phones, but they do not come with tracking per se, as with pay as you go (PAYG) in the UK it turns out that it is possible — albeit hard — to purchase and use a phone anonymously (unless someone works hard to decipher the identity). Here is what I found in each major shop:

Carphone Warehouse: always must disclose personal details, no matter the network, phone, plan, and payment method

Orange: must give personal details to the cashiers

Vodafone: needn’t give personal details, can pay with cash

Phone4U: need to pay more for anonymous usage

Virgin: can avoid giving personal details, but there are caveats

To the credit of all the above, no store had people working for it who give a ‘funny’ or ‘dirty’ look when asked about privacy implications, maybe because I don’t look like a terrorist or maybe because I’m exceedingly polite and smile all the time. Either way, it is not as bad as it could be. To ask for privacy these days is almost like confessing to doing something malicious.

2 Responses to “Using a Phone Anonymously in the UK”

  1. ghostDancer Says:

    In Spain you have to identify yourself with National ID card or passport before you can buy a phone or a SIM card. Of course there’s a black market for anonymous or faked SIM cards.

  2. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    Over time it might be harder to do.

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