Hong Kong’s Executive Council has approved government plans to introduce the mandatory registration of all pre-paid SIM cards from 1 March next year. All new SIM card purchases or extensions of existing numbers will have to be accompanied by a person’s real name, date of birth and a copy of their identity document. A private user can register up to ten cards, while businesses are allowed up to 25 cards. By 23 February 2023 the government says all phone numbers in Hong Kong should be linked to an individual or business. Critics of the scheme say it will give government more opportunity to limit freedom of speech and privacy, while authorities say it will help to reduce crime linked to mobile devices such as drug dealing and financial scams.