Government launches new portal to track lost or stolen phones

The Indian government will now help you track your lost mobile phone. Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad started a new website where you can report stolen phones in Maharashtra on 13 September. The government has chosen Maharashtra as the place for its pilot test to recover the lost phone. The Department of Telecommunications announced that it has started working on technology to track lost phones in 2017. The DoT has developed the Central Device Identification Register (CEIR) as a centralized database for billions of IMEI related to mobile devices.

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How the government plans to track lost mobile phones in India?
A 15-digit unique identification number, also known as international mobile device identification, will be used to track lost devices. If you lose your phone, the first step will be to file a complaint with the DoT. To do this, you can contact the helpline number on 14422. After the police complaint is filed in this regard, DoT will identify your IMEI number and blacklist it. This will restrict the person in possession of your device from accessing any mobile network.

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The new announcement does not mean that you will get your lost phone back. However, this would render the device redundant, making it impossible for the thief to use it or sell it to third parties. The DoT notes that even your cell phone operator will be able to blacklist your phone using the same IMEI number. The ministry noted that further details are available on how you can recover your lost phone once the website goes live.

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CEIR will also be able to access GSMA’s worldwide IMEI database and track counterfeit devices to compare IMEI numbers. GSMA is a global trade body representing mobile network operators globally. Collaboration between DoT and GSMA means that your lost phone can be tracked worldwide. If anyone arrives with the stolen device, tries to activate it, the telecom operator will identify the new user and alert police. According to Livemint, this will allow a lost or stolen device to be traced. BSNL, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd will help DoT track lost devices.

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