Feeds

Millions of mobiles blocked by Indian authorities

No ID, no call

High performance access to file storage

India has blocked service to an estimated 25 million mobile phones lacking valid identity codes over concerns criminal or militant groups could use them to organize attacks.

Mobile phones with a blank or all-zero International Mobile Identity (IMEI) code went dead at midnight Tuesday as a result of a government security directive that became law in October 2008.

The 15-digit IMEI number can be used to identify a handset on an operators network, allowing individual calls to be traced to the phone it came from. Phones without a valid IMEI are usually inexpensive, unbranded handsets manufactured in China.

According to the Times of India, Chinese-made handsets account for about 13.3 per cent of the country's total mobile market.

India's government claims these untraceable phones are a potential security threat when in the hands of unsavory individuals. The Indian Cellular Association urged compliance with the rules:

"Terrorists and dangerous elements may have taken cover under the illegal and fictitious IMIE mobile phones, which could have been used to trigger a series of criminal activities," the trade organization wrote in an October newsletter.

"As a part of the great mobile trade and industry, we believe that by disallowing the existence of illegal IMEI numbers in our telecom ecosystem we can play a greater role to strengthen our nation's security requirements," it continued.

The government has allowed operators to provide a new unique ID number to phones that don't comply with the new regulation. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.