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Monday, December 4, 2023

India Launches Nationwide Mobile Phone Tracking to Combat Theft and Cloning


The Indian government will launch a nationwide tracking system that will enable individuals to actively block and track their lost or stolen mobile phones. The Centre for Department of Telematics (CDoT), a technology development body, has successfully conducted a pilot of the CEIR system in select telecom circles, such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and the North East region. An anonymous DoT official stated that the CEIR system is now ready for pan-India deployment and will launch on May 17.

While the CEO and Chairman Project Board at CDoT, Rajkumar Upadhyay, did not confirm the specific date, he affirmed that the technology is ready for implementation across India this quarter. Upadhyay stated that the CEIR system will empower individuals to block and track their lost mobile phones. CDoT has also incorporated features to detect the use of cloned mobile phones on all telecom networks.

To prevent unauthorized mobile phones from entering their networks, the government has mandated the disclosure of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a unique 15-digit identifier, before the sale of mobile devices in India. Telecom operators and the CEIR system will have access to an approved list of IMEI numbers, enabling them to track and block any unauthorized mobile phones. Some states are already utilizing this information to actively track lost or stolen mobiles through the CEIR system.

Upadhyay emphasized that miscreants often change the IMEI number of stolen mobile phones, making it difficult to track and block them. The CEIR system addresses this issue by being able to block cloned mobile phones on the network using comprehensive databases. Apart from facilitating the reporting of lost and stolen mobiles, the CEIR aims to curb mobile phone theft, aid law enforcement in tracing stolen devices, detect counterfeit or cloned mobile phones, restrict the use of such devices, and protect consumers by raising awareness about fake and cloned mobile phones.

The police successfully recovered and returned over 2,500 lost mobile phones to their owners in Karnataka, thanks to the successful implementation of the CEIR system. While Apple already offers a tracking system through Apple ID, Android mobile phones have faced challenges in this regard. The implementation of the new CEIR system is expected to render the use of stolen mobile phones futile. Upadhyay added that the system includes built-in mechanisms to combat phone smuggling and prevent revenue losses to the government.


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