If you’re wondering what authoritarian technology futures look like, here’s an example from North Cyprus. This is a message from The Information Technologies and Communication Authority telling me I can use my device (IMEI number sent in the clear in the text) for 90 days without registering it (something I first encountered in Turkey years ago). Also note, they took a copy of my passport while buying the prepaid SIM card (something they also do in Belgium).

The dystopian future is now.

@claudius @aral

This reminds me of some handy advice I found the other day about preparing some copies of identity cards yourself, to avoid identity fraud.

There are some personal ID's to cover (like in Netherlands the Government Service Number, or BSN), and you might even cover your photograph in some cases.

Then when handing over your copy, you add a note describing who its for and a date.

See government advice (in Dutch):

@humanetech @aral In germany, I was forced to upload a full scan without any markings or redactions for life insurance in april. I even brought this to the attention of our Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.
(see: )

@humanetech @aral the idea of noting who I gave the copy to is a great one, though.

@humanetech @claudius I’m pretty sure they’d refuse that here. They demand to scan it themselves.

@humanetech that's interesting and good advice that I hadn't encountered before. :) Thanks for sharing. @claudius @aral

In France too, you have to give an ID to buy a prepaid Sim card... I think it's always been the case since cellphones exist. This is why I find it really annoying when online services require you to give a phone number if you want to register (like #Signal 😉): here a phone number is directly linked to your identity.
So what shocks me the most in your picture is the ministry's writing! 😆

@polygoat Nope, it’s not the same everywhere (yet). But definitely heading that way in most places.

@aral we're lucky in sweden where we can get sim cards for free, just pick them up outside some stores and sometimes they hand them out in the subway. there is no need to provide anything and we can top up with cash.. im afraid this wont last long though

@dsv @aral

UK still allows purchase of SIM cards with cash and topping up, but there are numerous "nudges" such as discounts and special offers to encourage people to register them to their address.

Also widespread usage of stingrays and their LTE equivalent in any city where it is suspected mobile phones are being used for illegal purposes (selling of hard drugs), possibly more so than anywhere else in Northern Europe..

@aral Bu sizi denetlemekten daha çok sizi soymak için yapılıyor. Türkiye`de telefonun vergisi telefon fiyatından fazla.
Arabada durum daha kötü. Diyelim 1800 cc ortalama bir araba alacaksınız, araç fiyatının %220`si özel tüketim vergisi, toplamın %23ü KDV ödüyorsunuz. Kısaca soygun

@aral In Spain you have to give the National ID number to buy a prepaid SIM card. Don't know about non Spanish people but I guess they would ask a passport or some kind of ID.

Translation of mentioned SMS message (attached image):
Your device with 3...9 IMEI number is not registered and you can use this device for 90 days only with 5...7 phone number. 90 days limitation for your devices will be renewed every calendar year. For more information on registering your device, please call BTHK (Information and Communication Technologies Authority) at 0392 444 2845.

Registering a device costs around 2000 TL (~240$ as of 2021) regardless of how cheap your phone is. Even if you are a student with limited budget, you got to either pay 240$ to register your phone, or buy a crappy phone that costs just as much. Tax on smartphones is close to 90% in Turkey.
600$ iPhone 12 in USA becomes 1120$ in Turkey.
A very appropriate price for Turkey's economy that is in freefall.

@murtezayesil Bloody hell, I didn’t even know there was a cost attached! oof.. i cant believe registering IMEI for end user could be that pricy. 🤦 . Does this price also applies to a local brand/made too? I wonder this because of enforced custom tax on telecommunication devices like in Indonesia.

There is no phone manufacturing in Turkey AFAIK. Quality does not compare to imports. Even if the quality was a match, it would be because most local brands only stick their logo on the back panel. Only Vestel came close calling a phone "Made in Turkey" and it was limited to assembling foreign parts.
You would think that registering price is for making local brands more appealing. I say, what local brand?
@sandycorzeta @aral Xiaomi has an manufacturing factory in my country, while its not a local brand it is somehow lowering the gauge to the end user for having their imei registration handled by the company to the government.

There is a policy in my country that any telecommunication devices on the market has to register their IMEI to the government, otherwise it cannot use the mobile data feature to any mobile operator even the sim card is inserted (wifi still work). And for protecting the economy market on gadgets like these, the company who made the phone at least have to set up a branch company in Indonesia or can be better setting up their manifacturing plant too. Thus making phones like iPhones or Pixel is more expensive (due custom tax) and have to register the IMEI in personal to the customs offices. Not even to mention that registering a phone IMEI that is priced under 500$ is free while above that, you have to pay again.

There are Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, TCL and Samsung phone assembly lines in Turkey. Even though they aren't adding 240$ IMEI to locally assembled devices, tax still inflates prices by nearly 70%. Xiaomi's assembles Redmi 9T and 9C in Turkey.

Redmi 9T (128GB SSD, 4GB RAM) is available for 2900 TLY (approximately 340$) and 6GB RAM variant is 32,000 PKR (~210$) in Pakistan.

@sandycorzeta @aral

@murtezayesil Thanks; I didn’t have the patience to translate it :)

In Germany you can also just get sim cards, if you identify yourself with your passport. :(

This is one of the reasons to make the phone number concept die forever (hint: it's your personal unique tracking number), and why using a smartphone with secure VoIP apps (without random apps and a privacy disaster OS) is much better than a basic phone.
Yes you may still be traceable by cell towers, but you at least have the option to use airplane mode + wifi to call and message.


Can't be anonymous anymore.
They ask your ID too in the Netherlands.

Is there a country in the EU, which allows anonymous Sims? Maybe @Aktionssim knows something?😃

@aral If you think that SIM card registration laws make a country dystopian, then there are currently 155 dystopian countries in this world.

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