You May Soon Be Able to Track Your Lost Phone
In a bid to stop the cloning and theft of mobile phones across India, the Telecom Ministry is ready to roll out a Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) — a database of IMEIs, the 15-digit numbers that uniquely identify each mobile device, according to a report by Express Tech.
The plan is ready to be implemented in a few weeks, and as soon as that happens, Indian consumers who have lost their mobile phones to theft or otherwise will be able to inform the Department of Telecom (DoT) via a helpline number after filing a report with the police. The DoT can then blacklist the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, blocking the phone from accessing any cellular network. Alongside this, the stated objectives of India’s CEIR specifically refers to facilitating “IMEI-based lawful interception”, says the report.
A DoT office memorandum outlining the project detail also states that “The theft and cloning of mobile phones have become a serious problem. The theft of mobile phones is not just a financial loss but also a threat to the personal life of the citizens as well as national security. Counterfeit mobile phones in the market are another issue for DoT. A substantial number of counterfeit mobile phones are active in our mobile networks with fake IMEI numbers.”
The database will have three lists – white, grey and black, where phones with IMEI numbers in the whitelist means that it is a legitimate device and that it’s not under the watchlist. The blacklist will consist of IMEI numbers linked to stolen phones. Phones in the greylist will function but will be under the DoT’s supervision.
While there are many apps in the market that can help you find your lost device, the concept of having a central identity register is advocated by the GSM Association (GSMA), a body representing mobile operators, equipment manufacturers, software and internet companies, among other stakeholders in the telecom ecosystem.