India launches Sanchar Saathi portal to track and block stolen/missing phones

India’s Department of Telecom has launched Sanchar Saathi Portal which helps track lost or stolen phones in India. It will also help users verify the authenticity of their devices before buying them.

Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the portal will help people block, track and check the genuineness of a second-hand device before buying them.

“First leg of the Sanchar Saathi portal is CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register). If you lose your mobile phone, then you can visit this portal. There will be some identity verification, requirement of undertaking and immediately after this the portal will interact with law enforcement agencies and telecom service providers and block your lost mobile phone,” Vaishnaw said.

The Sanchar Saathi portal (link here) has a Know Your Mobile Facility feature which allows users to check if a used device is genuine. “We feel confident that at least with these reforms, at least the rising trends in cyber frauds will be seriously controlled and we will be able to bring them down,” Vaishnaw said.

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Sanchar Saathi portal is versatile and can perform various duties

Additionally, TAFCOP on the portal lets users check if there is another mobile number operating in their name without their knowledge or consent. The service has been developed by C-DoT, a technology development wing of the DoT. It helps find out cloned mobile phones in any network in India.

The Indian government has mandated the discloser of the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, a 15-digit unique code assigned to each individual phone which helps with the authorization of mobile phones across Indian networks.

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will have access to the list of approved IMEI numbers which will help determine unauthorized mobile phones on their network.

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After phones are stolen, their IMEI number is changed making their tracking difficult. The CEIR will check and block any cloned device on the cellular network with the database.

C-DOT has already been conducting the trial for the technology in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and North East. Just recently, Karnataka Police tracked and handed over 2,500 lost mobile phones to their owners with the help of the CEIR system.

DoT believes that Sanchar Saathi will help curb the smuggling of phones and eliminate the grey market.

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