Will this really be possible to implement?
In China you can buy a burner SIM on every street corner, and behind every university. And top it up using cash in hundreds of small shops.
Things must work completely differently in Thailand.
Thailand is considering a proposal to track the location of all SIM cards acquired by foreigners, be they tourists or resident aliens. The plan's been floated as a way to assist law enforcement agencies combat trans-national crime. Thailand borders Cambodia, Laos and Burma, three nations that have reasonably porous borders, …
If not, they can track that SIM, but can't link it to you. They've already got that ability, they can track ESNs as they move across their network so if your ESN is at the scene of a crime they can see your ESN is now at your hotel and with some inexpensive equipment track you to your exact room and knock on your door. No SIM tracking needed.
Seems unlikely to stop terrorists, who could simply import prepaid SIMs and avoid any SIM->person linkage.
Pfft - they can already track every SIM. There's COTS s/w that plugs into the network and will provide reasonable geolocation of every call made in the entire network, complete with SIM identities. Special requests for live geolocation of specific SIM identities can be made into the network with the standard s/w build on the infrastructure via the legal intercept standards.
Perhaps all this is doing is, as you surmise, making people show a passport when acquiring a SIM from a legitimate outlet, so they get IMSI's from a "foreign" range of numbers, rather than the domestic range. As you say, not likely to stop anything.
> "People don't actually need to carry a phone everywhere they go."
Easily handled, just pass a law that every foreigner MUST carry a tracked phone at all times. If they are caught without one they would pay a fine and have to demonstrate they have a phone within one day. Heck the government could even provide a phone free in such cases.
The next infraction would be more serious, of course...
So anyone involved in cross border traffic will just get a local to buy a SIM for them.
As already suggested, this will just bump up the sale of SIM cards to the locals and encourage SIM swapping.
Just remember to remove the SIM before you cross back over the border.
All this will do is track tourists and legitimate long term residents; perhaps this is the real aim?
The DPRK now allows foreigners to use mobiles in their country with restrictions.
But who's to say this couldn't be used to track all of the time as well? Well done US gov, sneaky and more data sharing too!
Shit they'd be able to see which brothels you prefer.
> the nation's telecoms regulators aren't entirely sure how to make the tracking work
Are they seriously that incompetent?
Cell towers track phone distance as a basic part of how they work. When you know where the cell towers are (and I assume the nation's telecoms regulators would!) then it's simple triangulation, and already built into the software.
That's not that accurate a statement. Cell towers try and track timing advance so as to make sure that time-division signals fall within their specified bounds, but this is not a complete picture of where the mobile is - to do that properly you need information from multiple cells, and that isn't in the network.
Another issue is that when the mobile is not actively doing anything (e.g. making a voice call), the network has near-zero visibility of how it moves beyond "is it in this large cluster of cells". Rummaging around, and there are various "on-SIM" solutions to continually monitoring device location, for example using a SIM that periodically bundles local RF measurements up (which the phone is doing anyway) and sends an SMS with them to a cloud server that processes them into a geolocation fix. This way means you can have a constant track on all phones with these SIMs in.
"... Bit of a difference sometimes in governing style though."
Not really, actually.
As a matter of passing interest, Thaksin, the former democratically elected dictator of Thailand and Commander in Chief of Corruption (no on the run for bail jumping with his ill gotten billions) was, to put it mildly, not very fond of foreigners.
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