Yesterday, Manolo remarked that the two Senate bills to require registration of SIM cards might "irk the public". It probably will, but such a step is necessary in these times. Registration of SIM cards is essential for law enforcement especially now that cell phones are used as triggering devices for car bombs.
Maybe the public will be less irked if they are assured that sacrificing anonymity does not necessarily mean giving up privacy. The lawmakers who would take away the phone user’s anonymity are also responsible for putting more safeguards to that same phone user’s privacy.
In addition to requiring SIM card registration, the Telco's (e.g. Globe, SMART and Sun) should also be required to log the coordinates of every called number (gps coordinates if possible) as part of the call data record as an aid to subsequent investigation(s). However, such records should be kept confidential under normal circumstances.
As i told fellow commenter Baycas last year, society has to find a way to accept the loss of anonymity while strengthening safeguards to privacy.
One example of eliminating anonymity is the requirement to clearly identify a person as well as centralize personal information for easy access (via Identity Cards and a corresponding online database) which is in itself is a very useful for security and administrative purposes. However, this will only be acceptable if such information is treated with the same level of sanctity as a Swiss Bank Account accessible only by the person himself or through a valid court order. Making a person carry around his/her Identity Card and demanding it to be shown at will, opens the system to abuse resulting in further discontent and/or loss of freedom.
While we're on the subject, over at Crookedtimber, there is an informative entry on a form of information theft called phishing. It narrates specific cases of possible phishing incidents in the photo sharing website flickr.
Update (July 11, 2007 12:16pm): In the comments section, blogger Manila Baywatch gives a detailed explanation of how such a system of privacy without anonymity works in France through the various stages of a French citizen's existence.
*First three paragraphs was also submitted as a comment in mlq3's blog.