Govt To Bring Strict Rules For Stopping Phone Thefts; Tampering IMEI Number Will Land You In Jail Now!
A few months back, Department of Telecom’s Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell was investigating a case of lost mobile. While tracking the unique IMEI number associated with that mobile, the team was stunned to find that one single IMEI number was associated with 18,000 mobile phones.
If we speak about safety and security of a nation, then this is a disaster.
Any terrorist can link as many mobiles with an IMEI, and carry on their nefarious activities. No security agency can track the user, and this is bad.
In order to stop such cases, with a primary focus on stopping phone thefts, Department of Telecom (DoT) will now make rules tough, when it comes to dealing with phone thefts.
Under this major reform, tampering with IMEI number may soon land you in jail.
Amendments Under Indian Telegraph Act Will Kickstart Now
As per reports coming in, Department of Telecom has decided to amend few sections under century old Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which will make the act of stealing phones even more difficult.
And to kickstart the process, a major amendment will be introduced, under which tampering or changing IMEI number of any handset would be a punishable offence.
Prison term up to three years has been proposed under this reform.
A Govt. official said, “It is difficult to track mobile phones because of duplicate IMEI numbers. The DoT is working on rules to make tampering of IMEI numbers a punishable offence under Indian Telegraph Act,”
The new rules are being formed by combining the best features of Section 7 and Section 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act. Under Section 7, DoT has been provided power to deal with the conduct of telecom companies and providers, and Section 25 deals with punishment related to damaging telecom equipment such as wires, instruments etc.
The official said, “The rules will be notified in official gazette once finalised,”
Can IMEI Number Protect Mobile Users From Thefts?
IMEI or International Mobile Equipment Identity is a unique 15-digit number, assigned to every mobile device ever created.
Telecom service providers use IMEI to track, locate and monitor any mobile device, and the calls made by that device, anywhere in the World. In case a mobile phone is lost, security agencies can ask the service provider to track IMEI, in order to find the location of the handset.
Last year in April, Govt. had banned those mobile phones, especially Chinese ones, which didn’t have IMEI number associated. This had created a chaos, as thousands of such mobiles were found to be without IMEI numbers.
However, after this implementation of the law, the issue of duplicate IMEI has cropped up, which has forced DoT to come out with laws, making tampering and duplicating IMEI as a punishable offence.
We will keep you updated as we receive more updates regarding this news.