Union Ministry of Communications will soon roll out a Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) in a bid to curtail the rampant cloning and theft of mobile phones across the country.
Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)
It is a database of International Mobile Equipment Identities (IMEIs), the 15-digit number unique to each mobile device. It aims curtail rampant cloning and theft of mobile phones across the country.
Objectives: Curtail counterfeit mobiles, block lost or stolen mobiles across networks thus discouraging theft of mobile phones, maintain registry of all equipment identity to facilitate database of valid devices and facilitate IMEI-based lawful interception.
CEIR Lists: Database of IMEI numbers will be categorised in three lists – white, grey and black. White list IMEI number mobile phones will be permitted for use. Blacklist IMEI number mobile phones will be the ones that are reported stolen or lost and will not be allowed to access the network. Greylist IMEI number mobile phones will be the ones that do not conform to standards but will be permitted to connect under supervision.
The concept of a central identity register is advocated by GSM Association (GSMA), a body representing mobile operators, equipment manufacturers, software and internet companies, among other stakeholders in the telecom ecosystem. Globally, equipment identity register is in use across various geographies including Australia, United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Turkey among others.
In India, idea to prepare registry of mobile identification numbers was first conceived (proposed) in National Telecom Policy-2012. In the interim budget for 2019-20, Union Government had allocated Rs. 15 crore to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the CEIR project.