Orwellian drama continues – with some mobile operators taking it to a level far beyond the expectations of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka with the two magic words ‘National Security’ wining everyone’s blind approval.
Now Mobitel wants a photograph of every subscriber – either to register or re-register. (Wasn’t it irresponsible for Mobitel in the first place to provide a connection to somebody not registered with them? – beats us!) They have shutterbugs ready for tasks at their outlets. All you have to do is to walk in. If you don’t like being photographed by them, take a passport size photo of you. 3.5 x 4.5 cm size. Easy.
Why they need your photograph? If the authorities want they can always trace the number of your National Identity Card, Driving License or Passport (which you have to provide for registration) to their databases for a photo. Why keep an additional photo with your operator? Is Mobitel planning to build a FaceBook?
What Mobitel does not reveal in its colour full page advertisements on Sunday newspapers are the steps it takes to protect your privacy. Usually, whatever the information provided by a customer is available to hundreds of their employees –perhaps thousands – including call centre agents. Does Mobitel guarantee the privacy of the photographs they take? Does it follow international standards in computer security? Or is it just like uploading a photo to the public domain in FaceBook? (NB. Usually call center operators can access all your call information and contacts)
A responsible subscriber is someone who provides all necessary information accurately to one’s operator. A responsible operator is someone who respects the privacy of a subscriber. What a subscriber does not like to see is her photo digitally affixed to the body of Jessica Alba, sun bathing.
Our sincere hope is that Mobitel would understand and guarantee the privacy to its subscribers. That is the least it could do for making its subscribers making an additional trip for registration/reregistration.