New Delhi, Oct 12 : The Union Government has asked mobile operators to strictly ensure that calls are not processed on such handsets that cannot be tracked by sleuths after concerns were expressed over security lapses in the use of cell phones without proper security codes.
The security code known as International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a 15-digit number unique to a mobile handset and this can help in tracking or blocking of the mobile phone.
After a spate of terrorist attacks in various parts of the country in the recent past, the security agencies had found that many handsets with either no IMEI or all zeros were being sold in the market very cheaply and the service providers were activating the same.
"It has been brought to the notice of DoT that many cellular mobile handsets are being authenticated in the network of cellular service providers without any or all zeros in IMEI numbers. This has posed national security hazards," Department of Telecom (DoT) said in a communication to all operators.
The DoT has also said that upon making enquiries, it came to its notice that networks of many service providers in case of GSM platform were not fully equipped with the facility that allows to register the handset only with a proper IMEI.
"Therefore, in the interest of security of the nation, all cellular mobile service providers and Unified Access Service Licencees are hereby directed to make provision for Equipment Identity Register so that calls without IMEI or that with IMEI with all zeros are not processed and registered," DoT said.
The DoT has asked the mobile service providers to make the facility available in their respective networks within 15 days from the issue of the directive and asked the companies to provide details of the switches to government within three weeks.