People will be able to block and track their lost or stolen mobile phones across India with the rollout of a tracking system by the government this week, a senior government official said.
Technology development body Centre for Department of Telematics (CDoT) has been running the pilot of the CEIR system in some of the telecom circles, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Northeast region, and the system is now ready for pan-India deployment, a DoT official, who did not wish to be identified, told PTI.
"CEIR system is scheduled for pan-India launch on May 17," the official said.
When contacted, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Project Board at CDoT Rajkumar Upadhyay did not confirm the date but confirmed that the technology is ready for pan-India deployment.
"The system is ready and now it will be deployed across India in this quarter. This will enable people to block and track their lost mobile phones," Mr. Upadhyay said.
CDoT has been able to add features to check the use of cloned mobile phones across all telecom networks.
The government has made it mandatory to disclose IMEI — a 15-digit unique numeric identifier — of mobile devices before their sale in India.
The mobile networks will have access to the list of approved IMEI numbers which will check the entry of any unauthorised mobile phones on their network.
Telecom operators and CEIR system will have visibility into IMEI number of the device and mobile number linked to it, and the information is being used in some states to track your lost or stolen mobiles through CEIR.
"One of the common practices is that miscreants change IMEI number of stolen mobile phones which prevents tracking and blocking of such handsets. It was a national security issue. The CEIR will be able to block any cloned mobile phones on the network with the help of various databases," Mr. Upadhyay said.
The basic purpose of CEIR is to ease reporting of stolen and lost mobiles and block the use of mobiles all over the country. This will discourage the theft of mobile phones, enable the tracing of the stolen and lost mobiles to the police, detection of cloned or counterfeit mobiles, restrict the use of such cloned mobiles, as well as protect the interest of the consumers by making them aware of the information related to fake and cloned mobile phones.
Recently, Karnataka Police recovered and handed over more than 2,500 lost mobile phones to their owners using the CEIR system.
Apple already has a system to track lost mobile phones with the help of Apple ID but major issues have been around Android mobile phones.
With the new system in place, it will be futile to use stolen mobile phones.
"The system has an in-built mechanism which will also check the smuggling of phones and help the government from revenue loss to the exchequer as well," Mr. Upadhyay added.