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UK Government to Shut Down GSM Networks

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the worrisome-most-worrisome dept.

94

An anonymous reader writes "Mobile Gazette is reporting that the British government wants to shut down the UK's GSM networks next year and re-use the frequencies for gambling terminals and a new citizen surveillance program extending the use of the new compulsory ID cards. Although we should perhaps welcome the move away from old-style 2G mobile phone networks, there are perhaps a few worrying things about the new "Big Brother" citizen monitoring that the government is proposing to put in."

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94 comments

Is it me? (-1, Troll)

jpellino (202698) | about 8 years ago | (#15041145)

Or is this year's 4/1 just too obvious and lame.

Re:Is it me? (1, Funny)

Trogre (513942) | about 8 years ago | (#15041152)

Funny, I don't remember anything too obvious or lame on 4th of January this year.

Re:Is it me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041170)

Ha Ha! This is an American based website. You may not have known that in America, people commonly say April 1st, or shorten that to 4/1. This is also the convention used in China, India, and throughout most of the world.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041197)

Throughout most of the world? Like in Iraq and Afghanistan? Duhamerica != most of the world. Troll.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041350)

Throughout most of the world? Like in Iraq and Afghanistan? Duhamerica != most of the world. Troll.

If it included those, then it would been all of the world.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041198)

Ha ha! Aren't you smug... and wrong! I'm not sure about China, but in India it would would always be written 1/4, and not the other way round.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041232)

Just for the record, I know for a fact that China is always Month/day, living here and all (here's an example [chinatimes.com]. And I've seen the month/day used in India, you can see an example of such here [indiatimes.com].

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041391)

> And I've seen the month/day used in India, you can see an example of such here.

That's because Indiatimes Blogs haven't configured their system properly. Many Indian PCs (and servers) use the en-us locale (including mm/dd dates and $ as the currency symbol) because Windows even upto XP SP2 does not have a English en-in preset locale -- so most people end up using the US locale since the English edition is most widely sold there, and en-us is the default.

Most Indians can deal with mm/dd dates on their directory listings but the country does use dd/mm -- show 4/1/2006 to any Indian and he'll think of 4th Jan first.

Re:Is it me? (1, Offtopic)

shreevatsa (845645) | about 8 years ago | (#15041226)

Of course not! India has always been using the dd/mm/yyyy format, and 4/1 means 4th of January.

It is true that in China, 4/1 means 1th of April, but that's because they use the yyyy-mm-dd format, which is a logical order (most significant–least significant), unlike your American mm-dd-yyyy order which makes no sense.

The ISO standard [iso.org] (ISO 8601 [cam.ac.uk]) is to use yyyy-mm-dd (as you see in dates on Slashdot and all websites that actually realise it's the World Wide Web).

To prevent ambiguity, it is best to spell out the name of the month in full, when you are not specifying the year, and there is no way of telling whether month/date or date/month is being used.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041346)

How do you pronounce that exactly? 1th of April? Sounds like a tard with a lisp trying to say once of april.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041299)

Ha Ha! This is a story about the UK.

Re:Is it me? (2, Informative)

johnw (3725) | about 8 years ago | (#15042054)

This is also the convention used in China, India, and throughout most of the world.

Nonsense. Middle-endian dates are pretty much unique to the USA (which despite what some of the inhabitants seem to think is not "most of the world").

Apart from the USA, the rest of the world uses either DD-MM-YYYY or YYYY-MM-DD, both of which are much more sensible than the USA format.

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15042505)

China does 4/1/2006. China is way bigger than whatever country you live in. I doubt you've done a complete survey of the world and I certainly haven't, but between these two countries alone you're looking at more than 25% of the world population.

If you don't believe me feel free to click on the links posted above. Or perhaps talking out of your ass is more informative?

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041220)

It's a boring game called "find the real news". It's probably better to stay away from all media and take the day off. April fools is so silly.

nice one.... (0, Offtopic)

joe 155 (937621) | about 8 years ago | (#15041150)

good way to show how much you know about the UK.... firstly, we do not have an American flag as a representation of our government (that's only for a section of North America), secondly due to British summer time (that's right, we made a system of time that the rest of the world falls around and then opted out) its gone 12 noon and as such april fools day jokes are redundant (owing to the custom of stopping at noon)... tut tut tut.

Re:nice one.... (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | about 8 years ago | (#15041163)

>its gone 12 noon and as such april fools day jokes are *redundant* (owing to the custom of stopping at noon)

I do not think this word means what you think it means.

Re:nice one.... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | about 8 years ago | (#15041173)

from dictionary.com

entries found for redundant: Chiefly British. Dismissed or laid off from work, as for being no longer needed.

Re:nice one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041196)

Hey, you Limey's are always getting on about us Yanks bastardizing the queen's tongue. I'd say turnabout's fair play, mate.

Re: stopping at noon (1)

VJTod (563763) | about 8 years ago | (#15041287)

Stopping at noon? That sounds like and April fools joke. Here in the states, April fools lasts all day. Not everyone can get their fool on by Noon.

And to quote Alan Jackson, "It's five o'clock somewhere." So at a minimum, us GMT-5 folks could get another joke on until it's 5am in the UK. And at a max, we could follow our western most time zone at GMT-10 in Hawaii and get one more fool in when you're having your April 2nd morning tea.

The pirate says, "Aaaaarrgh!"
Peace and Hare Grease

Re: stopping at noon (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | about 8 years ago | (#15041605)

I had an American Maths teacher in high school, and he got caught out by this. The class was after lunchtime, and a member of staff had come in and told him something rather implausible that was actually true. He didn't believe it, and thought it was an April Fool. Trying to persuade him that it finished at noon was rather difficult.

Re: stopping at noon (2, Informative)

SpaceJunkie (579366) | about 8 years ago | (#15041660)

The UK thing is that if you are unprepared enough not to have played your joke before 12 noon, then you are yourself the fool.

Its all part of the tradition here in the UK, and why breakfast jokes are some of the most common, ie switching the salt and sugar and watching some poor b*stard spit their salty coffee. Mwahahahah!

Look it up on WikiPedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_fool [wikipedia.org]

Re: stopping at noon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15054927)

"switching the salt and sugar"

You Limeys sure have some real original AF jokes. Wow. Switching the salt and sugar. That's the most imaginative thing that I've ever heard. It beats replacing a co-worker's Vaseline Intensive Care with yellow wood glue hands down.

Re: stopping at noon (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 8 years ago | (#15042303)

Stopping at noon? That sounds like and April fools joke. Here in the states, April fools lasts all day. Not everyone can get their fool on by Noon.

Actually April Fool's Day is now held on April 3rd, in line with new EU standards. Didn't you see that on the news yesterday?

Re:nice one.... (1)

arivanov (12034) | about 8 years ago | (#15041365)

firstly, we do not have an American flag as a representation of our government (that's only for a section of North America)

I would not be so sure. At least until the country is governed by a government lead by Antonio Bliar.

April Fools (2, Insightful)

puggsincyberspace (588856) | about 8 years ago | (#15041153)

This has to be another april fools joke.....

Re:April Fools (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041185)

Of course it is.
The Government could never get that project in place by next year.
  RJG.

Re:April Fools (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 8 years ago | (#15041366)

This has to be another april fools joke.....

Hmm... my GSM uses a provider with a British sounding name (Vodafone), and yet it is still working. Conclusion: yes, this story must be bulls^H^H^H

Re:April Fools (1)

isorox (205688) | about 8 years ago | (#15041383)

This has to be another april fools joke.....

You'd think, but the way things are at the moment I did have to check, I don't put anything past the current government.

In Re: April Fools (1)

PakProtector (115173) | about 8 years ago | (#15041158)

I know this is Truthday, and Big Brother tells me the Prollies will love this doubleplusalot.

Re:In Re: April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041209)

Don't listen to this Eurasian spy, comrades! I saw him reading Goldstein!! I saw him with my own eyes! Don't let him get away, comrades!

Ouch (4, Insightful)

taskforce (866056) | about 8 years ago | (#15041162)

The worrying thing is, I didn't bat an eyelid, and totally expected this from my government, until I got to the comments reminding me that it was April Fools Day... (Despite a full knowledege that it was April Fools Day, when I saw the words UK and Government in the same sentance I entered paranoia mode)

Re:Ouch (1)

MK_CSGuy (953563) | about 8 years ago | (#15041194)

I didn't bat an eyelid, and totally expected this from my government, until I got to the comments reminding me that it was April Fools Day

For me the eyes-burning pink-colored css-styled atrocity that is today's main page was kind of a giveaway.

Re:Ouch (2, Funny)

carou (88501) | about 8 years ago | (#15041257)

For me the eyes-burning pink-colored css-styled atrocity that is today's main page was kind of a giveaway.

After games.slashdot.org, nothing would surprise me.

Re:Ouch (1)

KitesWorld (901626) | about 8 years ago | (#15041199)

Shutting down the GSM networks would pretty much kill every mobile phone out there - so that shoulda been a dead giveaway to.

Well, that and the fact that the ID cards aren't cumpulsory - yet ;)

[note to self, spellhink mistaxe]

Re:Ouch (1)

doodlelogic (773522) | about 8 years ago | (#15041356)

well maybe 15% are 3G. That's not far off the 25% or so of TVs which were digital prior to the announcement that the analogue signal would be switched off - which has now reached 70% or more...

Re:Ouch (1)

KitesWorld (901626) | about 8 years ago | (#15042749)

True, but the key difference is that TV's dont tend to get imported from overseas on a daily basis - we constantly have people coming in from overseas expecting to be able to use their cells, on the other hand. London is one of the major financial capitals of the world, and a move like this would probably cost the economy billions - way more than they'd make on selling the waves.

Re:Ouch (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | about 8 years ago | (#15042236)

Dude, how could you forget that it's April Fools? Everything is pink!

And besides, the only thing that made this story unbelievable was the gambling terminals thing. The rest is totally plausible and non-ridiculous.

sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041174)

New topic in the Pink "How Lame Can We Get" Web Page! Very smart and funny, everyone will fell for our moronic jokes. The new age of San Francisco totally progressive jokes has arrived!

Not funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041179)

This is exactly the kind of garbage that our government are enacting, if there was a joke, I must have missed it.

All but news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041207)

April First is "No news day".

Please, for the love of all that you hold dear (0, Redundant)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#15041214)

Stop it.

April Fools Day is a nice, fun day on which you can be irreverant. It's fun to say or publish something that seems plausible, slipped in amongst everything else, and see how many people fall for it. That's great, it's traditional, it's a fun thing to do.

This is beyond stupid. No-one with half a brain in their head would fall for this. Everyone in the UK has a mobile phone. (Ok, not everyone, but those who don't are negligible in number compared to those who do) There have been BBC news stories about mobiles marketed at five year olds for fuck's sake, that's how saturated the market is here.

There are currently tens of millions of GMS phones in daily use in the UK. It will be practically impossible to switch off the network for a good few years yet. Hell, cable and satellite TV has been around for a decade or more, digital broadcasts have been available for free (yes, yes, licence fee, whatever) for anyone with a compatible TV or (cheap) set-top box for years, and still we can't switch off analogue TV broadcasts yet because too many people rely on them. The situation is exactly the same for phones.

As I say, April Fool's Day is fun. But you're meant to run with one or two plausible-sounding stories, not a glut of them all so far out as to be instantly recognisable. I appreciate that slashdot is essentially a news aggregation service, but that doesn't mean that you have to aggregate all the jokes.

Re:Please, for the love of all that you hold dear (1, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | about 8 years ago | (#15041247)

the funny part isn't the stories they come up with. its in reading people with no sense of humor's comments

Re:Please, for the love of all that you hold dear (1)

Omicron32 (646469) | about 8 years ago | (#15041357)

There was a second or two when I actually believed this story.

With the current state of our Government, would you really put it past them to do something like this?

Re:Please, for the love of all that you hold dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041368)

The only implausible thing is the timescale. Give them 10 or 20 years and they'll probably try something like this.

what about (1)

arabagast (462679) | about 8 years ago | (#15041245)

a "stupid" moderation option ? I would love to just for once, mod people stupid when they actually reply seriously on any story on slashdot today. Please Taco ? (Jupp, this reply could also be seen as a "serious" reply, but bear with me)

Re:what about (1)

k_187 (61692) | about 8 years ago | (#15041271)

hell, I think that should be an option year round. You know 80% of the posts around here would get it.

Re:what about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041569)

I am so moderating that post "stupid."

OMG!!! SOMEBODY THINK OF THE AC'S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041253)

No one is giving us any karma :(

Roaming.. (0, Redundant)

mOOzilla (962027) | about 8 years ago | (#15041263)

The UK already is a shity place to live but now the majority of people will not be able to roam as most use GSM LOL.

Wouldn't surprise me... (3, Insightful)

dyftm (880762) | about 8 years ago | (#15041270)

It wouldn't surprise me if I saw this story in a couple of years time, but not on april fool's day. We really are the lobsters slowly being boiled.

frogs != lobsters (1)

weierstrass (669421) | about 8 years ago | (#15041444)

>lobsters slowly being boiled.

you're thinking of frogs, dude. lobsters don't get slowly boiled, they get thrown right in the pan of boiling water.

frogs, however, apparently don't notice they're being boiled if you turn the heat up on them very slowly. hence the expression 'like a frog in a pot'.

Oh come on (0, Flamebait)

BlueLightning (442320) | about 8 years ago | (#15041272)

If you're going to make up an April Fools hoax at least make it remotely plausible. Only a total muppet could believe this story.

Re:Oh come on (2, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | about 8 years ago | (#15041331)

The only reason not to believe it is because our government would never be able to roll it out so quickly, otherwise given the authoratarian and stupid nature of "New" Labour it hits quite close to the mark. Infact some official probably read that and thought "what a good idea".

Re:Oh come on (2, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | about 8 years ago | (#15041387)

If you're going to make up an April Fools hoax at least make it remotely plausible. Only a total muppet could believe this story.

You obviously don't live in the UK. It's a bit of a stretch, but not that much less believable than doing away with parliament next and have ministers pass laws personally.

Re:Oh come on (1)

grumling (94709) | about 8 years ago | (#15041547)

If you're going to make up an April Fools hoax at least make it remotely plausible.

Well, here in the USA, the government is taking away spectrum from a well established industry:

http://www.atsc.org/faq/faq_general.html [atsc.org]

Oh, and they are requring everyone in the US to buy a new TV or STB (At least we get better pictures). All because the FCC wanted to allow secondary use on the unused channels for first responder dispatch radios.

Granted, most of the problem could have been avoided with some reasonable thinking from all parties involved, but hey, we're Americans! We want an unresonable response to a reasonable situation!

Re:Oh come on (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 8 years ago | (#15043659)

i dont mind screwing with poular entertainment for the sake of emergancy communication.

at least it's not goin the other way shafting first responders to line some fatcat's pockets

tHe pLAn kiDz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041282)

oKAy HeReZ tHe pLAn kiDzZzZz: We pReTenD tHiS iSn't aN aPRiL FooLz JoKe. GoT iT??

OT: I LOVE the new pinky /. theme!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15041289)

No, really, that should be the new standard.

ancient times (1)

polaralex (764908) | about 8 years ago | (#15041317)

come on... British are miles behind... In America the Big Brother system work 25/8 and there aro no GSM phones... Only GTA (General Theft Audible)

the beta tagging gives the joke away :( (1)

galaad2 (847861) | about 8 years ago | (#15041361)

" [+] aprilfools, uk, gay, bigbrother, lame (tagging beta)"

this kinda defeats the purpose of making a joke... at least hide the beta tags for today.

Wow, this is just like... (1)

Errandboy of Doom (917941) | about 8 years ago | (#15041389)

This is just like that famous book, Fahrenheit 1987 by Joel Chandler Harris [wikipedia.org].

I love it when governments get ideas from my favorite Sci Fi! But I think a lot of other people on slashdot really like that book, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who can't wait for this to become a reality!

Ok, gotta run, my gf is calling me back to bed...

--
Happy AF /.

4/1 (0, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15041393)

Why are we even here.. this gets old fast.

And pink? Dear god.. hell of a color to wake up to in the morning.

no joke (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 8 years ago | (#15041493)

Especially the gambling thing. We seem to be increasingly turning to sin taxes, not as a means to make it more expinsive to 'sin', but as a means to facilitate the behavior that many find unethical. The fact that many high and mighty alleged christian condone this behavior remind me of a person who got angry at the moneychangers in the temple.

One example of this is the Texas State lottery, which exist under the guise of increasing funding to education. Of course funding for education, as a percentage of the Texas budget, has fallen considerable over the past 15 years even as lottery revenue has grown. So what is the new proposal? Well a official named Strayhorn want gambling machines. Now this is the lady that attempted to start the process of a state religion for Texas by attempting to rescind the tax exempt status of a church, the denomination of which has existed from the birth of the United States and in many ways reflects the values of our founding fathers, as many of these men had input in it's creation. Combine this with the fact that the demonination has no profit motive, unlike the megachurches that infest Texas, and one wonders if Strayhorn is primarily concerned with well being of the average Texan or the a personal campaign of religious zelotry in which those that disagree with her liberal view of gambling are ignored.

To be clear I am not concerned if people gamble or not. I do not see how we can justify lottery machines in an time when we no longer have cig machines. How can one say that we can enforce the 18+ limit on tickets any more that cigs? I am not sure that having gambling machines in every corner is a net benifit. Like illegal drugs it take money to feed the habit. But, at the end of the day, in a capatilist conservative country like ours, built on a the standards of minimal government and private enterprise, I suppose the government is in the best position to effecintly run a gambling bussiness.

In More Recent News... (1)

ninjafury (890689) | about 8 years ago | (#15041528)

Margaret Thatcher, former UK PM, is believed to be behind the plot to shut down GSM netwroks in the UK. We've received word that Miss Thatcher is apparently doing this after years of planning -- since her impeachment -- to get back at the british public, and further her goal to start her own fashionable cellular phone company... Ass. Press 2006

Re:In More Recent News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15044135)

That's Baroness Thatcher to you. And she didn't get impeached.

the scary thing is.. (1)

moxley (895517) | about 8 years ago | (#15041601)

That it didn't even occur to me that it culd possibly be a joke at first because it is so in line with the escalating kind of behavior we're seeing from western fascist leaning governments these days.

What can I say... /. got me.

Re:the scary thing is.. (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | about 8 years ago | (#15041684)

I thought Emperor Blair announced these new measures to protect our freedoms from terrorists last week? I'm sure he wasn't lying because naturally he never lies, and I would report anyone who says he does to my nearest Blair Re-education Facility.

Re:the scary thing is.. (1)

moxley (895517) | about 8 years ago | (#15041784)

Ah..yes. You're a good citizen photoboy...

- And for anyone who says differently...well, the gestap..uh, i mean homeland security protectors are always looking for someone to investigate for "terroristic thoughts."

- it's the best way to deal with people who disagree just make the the call to the anonymous "report on your neighbors" line and problem solved!

I just don't get these people who talk abut "freedom" all of the time. Don't they know that safety is the new freedom? I mean, without the government keeping us safe, who would protect us from the attacks our government stages to convince us we need more safety?

Additional (1)

richpulp (942320) | about 8 years ago | (#15041615)

This story is a somewhat less worrying than the Government's compulsory weighing and enforced fitness regime that is under discussion. Seems that many kids of an age to be called up are too fat and wouldn't be able to handle the assault course at boot camp. Each school / college is to provide a list of overweight students on request.

Shuting down GSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15042482)

Please dont give those brain dead pratts any more ideas it's already living hell dealing with the constant dog shite that erupts every time one of them TRY'S to think (note i did say try's ) the best April fools day gift would be total
thermo necular(SP) evaporation of the entire Labour party and all it's hangers one ,economic scroungers (yes that means you the poeple that try to slip in the back door front door side door and get paid once they get in leaving people like me dissabled by one of the aforementioned life forms with nowt to live on but a few handouts .. thanks pal.

Pete .
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