Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Prepaid registration anyone?


Secondary school pupil sending a SMS, Kudat, Sabah, 2005.

The most recent fuss around town must be about the new ruling about registering pre-paid hand phone users. Basically I don’t see why this had to be such a big matter anyway. Postpaid users already are registered for billing purposes and the next step would be of course to get pre-paid users to follow suit. In many instances most people using pre-paid services are already in some form of customer profile either to qualify for some form of redemption such as the Digi birthday special (reloads are worth double the amount when you reload during a weeks period during your birthday) or as a survey to get free gifts and redemption. Many may not know this but your service provider would already have your records in their system, at least they are able to trace it to your location within the past few hours of making a call though they might not know who is using the phone or who owns it.

Registration, so what’s the big deal? Maybe in countries where registration for identity purposes such as our own Malaysian Identity Cards are not implemented (example Japan) people may feel their rights are being impinged upon or that it’s another way for Big Brother to watch over you. Already surveillance paranoia is at a high pitch in America where you can be traced via your credit card purchases, bank withdrawals, social security number or even watched through the countless surveillance cameras installed seemingly everywhere. I believe Malaysians are quite used to having their names and addresses listed in one form of another, since we are given a birth cert from birth, identity card in our teens, driver’s license application, school records, bank card application, passport registration, etc. So the transition to register pre-paid users isn’t too disruptive though I disagree that current users with pre-paid numbers might be harder to get hold of to register, the ruling should only be extended to newer applicants. The downside is that your info as recent news has it may be sold by syndicates to companies hoping to send you spam mails about offers that you never will need in life. So much for the buy a sim card for RM18, use till empty of credit and finally discard, the epitome of a consumer society. At least I don’t have to keep on changing my phone list from all the people who love to change their number every month or so. Lastly I can get even if any crazies such as anonymous incessant callers try to make my life a living hell.


Adrian said...

Uh, yes there is registration in Japan. We foreigners too carry something called an Alien Registration Card. And yes, even prepaid cellphones need registration here.

Kervin said...

Eh? I thought about a year ago people there were prostesting about infringement of their rights when the government decided to implement identity cards? Or was I mistaken for another country? Anywhere in this world where ID is not needed? Britain carry ICs? Blur la XD

Lucia Lai said...

well, to some it is no big deal while to some it is a big deal.

e.g. my sister who had been using prepaid all the while. so convenient she said. just pop in the shop, buy a card and can use the phone already... but now must registered details to buy the card? she shuddered at that. she is actually paranoid about giving out her details... even for filling in contest forms, if got lots of details she will grumble (like why they need to know birthdate for entering contest).

perhaps one good thing that will come out of registration for prepaid, is that it will discourage teenagers from using the phone... or will it? not really... unless they make it that like those under 18 must have approval from parents.