Registering an Interest

The question of a compulsory register of everyone buying (and possibly holding) a mobile phone has been raised again during these quiet summer days by Pat Carey TD, Junior Minister in the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs.

I’ll leave it to the Digital Rights Ireland post on this topic, and to Daragh O’Brien’s contribution from the field of information management, to outline the reasons why this is an idea which ought to be dumped, rather than regularly recycled.

Antoin O’Lachtnain, who is one of Digital Rights Ireland’s directors, had this little nugget from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (who would actually have to mandate such a register) responding to Mr. Carey’s intellectual eruption.

Minister Ryan will be discussing the question of mobile phone registration with Minister of State Carey in the coming weeks. Both Departments are conscious of the complex legal, technical and data-protection issues that surround this commitment in the Programme for Government.

The Department of Communications, in conjunction with the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs will be reviewing the situation, seeking advice from the Attorney General and working to resolve them insofar as practicable.

The Government is looking at all options that can assist in the fight against illicit drugs.???

Antoin suggests this is a statement saying that what was announced as a firm intention is now going to be merely examined.

Nonetheless, I’ve had Mr. Carey quoted to me today saying that he (or the Government, it isn’t clear which) intends to press ahead with this administrative gibberish on the basis that it might help, and can’t do any harm.

On the contrary, it cannot achieve the aims which are claimed for it, and it will certainly do harm.


  • Daragh O Brien says:

    Nicely put Simon. I have no real issue with the goverment pressing ahead with a plan, but given the number of other things which require funding in the economy I’d appreciate it if they would prioritise the ones that will…well.. WORK!!

    Properly planned and implemented this might have merit but the legal, technical and practical challenges that will have to be overcome are quite complex to the point of being unworkable.

    Who was quoting Carey as saying the plan was going to be ‘pressed ahead with’?

    There’s only one head I can think of that needs pressing…

  • Daragh O Brien says:

    Sorry – I lie.. I have very many issues with a ‘Big Brother-esque’ monitoring of citizens in the interests of the common good. However if it needs to be done it had better bloomin’ work.

    Which it won’t.

    So let’s not waste any more money or bits and bytes debating it.

  • Simon McGarr says:

    The quote was relayed to me via the Sky News reporter who interviewed us both (separately) today.

    Floods allowing, you might see 3.7 seconds of me on the telly by Friday/Monday.

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