Wednesday 6 February 2013

Rs 2 lakh plus 2 years jail for tinkering IMEI number

All mobile phones carry unique IMEI numbers that helps in identifying it.

Tinkering with the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number of your cell phone could put you in jail for three years. Not only that you could be fined as much as Rs 2 lakh.

This came to light after Madhya Pradesh Police approached the Department of Telecom (DoT) asking for help in a case involving changed IMEI number. Since there is no specific law in the Indian Penal Code pertaining to punishment for unlawful change of IMEI number of a mobile phone, the DoT has advised the police to proceed with the case under Section 65 of the Information Technology Act, reported the PTI.

According to the act, "Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroy, or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer program, computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both."

An IMEI number is a unique code given to a mobile phone that helps in easy and accurate identification of the device. But off late, new software have been invented that allow people to tinker IMEI numbers of a mobile phone that makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track the concerned device.

In 2009 itself, the Indian government had banned the import of mobile phones without IMEI numbers into the country. Last year, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) had also asked the government to ban all devices with fake IMEI number.

The recent case highlighted by Madhya Pradesh Police is expected to bring the spotlight on mobile phones with fake IMEI number.

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