In a bid to control increasing theft of mobile phones and their misuse, the Central government has passed a Bill that tampering with the 15 digit IMEI number is a criminal offence that can attract three years jail term, reports Kannada Prabha.
The mobile phone thieves are changing the IMEI numbers to avoid getting caught. Hence the Tele Communications Department has issued a notification stating except mobile manufacturers, any person changing, erasing or destroying IMEI number is a criminal offence and attracts jail term up to three years. If a mobile IMEI number is found to be tampered with such mobiles must not be used, says the new rules titled Prevention of Tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number Rules, 2017.
Every mobile phone instrument comes with a specific 15 digit IMEI number. The call record shows the IMEI number also. A mobile number can be changed by changing the SIM but only a technically skilled person with special equipment can tamper with the IMEI number. A global company called GSMA and local companies that are affiliated to it alone assigns IMEI numbers to mobiles. If a mobile is lost this number helps to trace it. But miscreants are tampering with the number and using the phones. This prevents in tracing the lost mobile phones. The Tele Communications Resources and Implementation Cell has found out that 18,000 mobiles are working on a single number.
The Telecommunications Department is working towards establishing a system where removing a SIM or tampering with IMEI number of stolen mobile phone will render it defunct.