Tampering of IMEI number, a unique 15-digit serial number of mobile devices is now a punishable offense as per the government of India. It results in the punishable offense for a jail term of up to 3 years and it seems to be one of the best laws ever made for the check on such theft which is very sensitive related to both personal and official factors.
On August 25, the Department of Telecom said: “It shall be unlawful, if a person, except the manufacturer –- intentionally removes, obliterates, changes, or alters unique Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number.”
The rule that is formed new, calls for “the prevention of tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number, Rules, 2017”. This means that it forbids a person from intentionally using the mobile whose IMEI number has been changed unlawfully or software that can change or tamper the unique number.
Interestingly, IMEI number is a unique ID for a mobile.
A Call record shows phone number of the caller and IMEI number of the handset from where the call is made. These numbers are provided by GSMA. The IMEI number is used to detect the mobiles when they get lost.
In 2009, DoT had barred telecom operators’ service to any mobile phone with fake IMEI number, however, identification of such fake IMEI numbers were close to impossible.
Reports said that DoT found 18,000 handsets using same IMEI number (reported by Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell.
IPC Section 7 gives DoT power to make rules for the conduct of telecom or telegraph services and section 25 deals with damaging of the telegraph line, machines and related equipment with a provision of punishments of up to 3 years of imprisonment or fine or both as mentioned above.
A new system that will block all services for the stolen or lost mobile phones on any network even if the SIM card is removed or IMEI number of the handset is changed will be soon on board as per the Department of Telecom.
More such rules could be emerged based on the occasions used to misuse the IMEI numbers.