Friday, January 06, 2012

Azerbaijan to register all mobile phones

Big Brother is watching you!
While the world is absorbed by new Draconian Internet law in Belarus and Iran's attempts to create “the halal Internet”, their kindred soul, the Azerbaijani government enacted another cautious piece of communications regulation.

The Azerbaijani government will register all operational mobile phones in Azerbaijan – at least, this is what their intention is according to new “Rules regarding registration of mobile devices” adopted by the Council of Ministers just on the last working day of 2011.

Formally this measure is taken within framework of “Complex Action Plan Aimed at Prevention of False Information Regarding Terrorism” adopted in 2009.

So what are these new rules about?

New rules require all operational mobile devices (cell phones) in the territory of Azerbaijan to be registered at Mobile Devices Registration System (MDRS).

MDRS is not ready yet and is to be set up by the Ministry of Communication and IT. All cell phone carriers will have to connect their networks to MDRS.
Information required for the system will include cell phone's IMEI code, a number associated with that phone and serial number of the SIM card.

A cell phone will work only with a number associated with it and registered at MDRS. Otherwise, cell phone operators will have to block it.

In practice, it means the government will be able to switch off every phone in the country.

An if you bring a cell phone from abroad for personal use, you have to go to special service centers and register your phone and number.

The question is – which will be left unanswered – why such fundamental regulations are accepted bypassing the Parliament and why the public hears about it only now?

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