Polish proposal to demand ID for pre-paid cards

By EDRi · June 2, 2004

Revising the Polish Telecommunication Act to implement the EU e-communication directives, the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure introduced a new obligation for mandatory identification of buyers of pre-paid GSM-cards. The proposal is brought as an anti-terrorism measure. State officials immediately acknowledged that the ID-demand would not make pre-paid cards totally anonymous, referring to the vivid trade in stolen phones, but said it was necessary to make it more difficult to use GSMs for illegal purposes.
The wording of the proposal was so general that a number of Polish internet portal-sites feared it would oblige them to register the ID of every free e-mail user. Reuters reported on 31 May they had sent a protest letter to the lawmakers. “The desire of Polish lawmakers to treat e-mail providers in the same way as telecoms operators is totally incomprehensible to us,” said the letter from portals Interia, Onet and Agora’s gazeta.pl service.

The same day the government issued an official statement that promised that the proposal would be re-worded, if the objection was indeed correct. The bill is currently being examined by parliament’s infrastructure committee and has not yet been scheduled for a second reading in the plenary session.

Polish Web Portals Criticise Draft Telecoms Law (31.05.2004) http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=internetNews&storyID=5301119

Official statement Polish Ministry of Infrastructure (in Polish, 31.05.2004)

(Thanks to Piotr Vagla Waglowski, ISOC Poland)