I know that feeling of stopping dead in tracks when you realize you’re phone is missing. The shock is equally miserable when it has been left forgotten. More than the value of the handset, we fear for the sensitive data within it. If it were to come in the hands of miscreants, what would happen? In the moments of trauma, we wish for a way to track the lost phone. Although there is ‘Find my iPhone’ and ‘Find my Phone’ on Android, they are useless if the phone lacks an internet connection. The same is true for apps like Cereberus, which also needs your device to be rooted. So, is there a better solution? Yes, there is!
Just earlier this week, the Government of India unveiled the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), which lets you block or track lost phones. The new technology is revealed to work even if the SIM card is removed or the unique code IMEI number is changed.
This register is managed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT) who work with regulatory authorities and telecom operators for tracking lost phones.
What is CEIR?
The phone tracking project has been in pipeline from 2017. It is formed with the sole aim to curtail theft and the resultant counterfeit cellphone business. GOI has allocated about Rs. 15 crores for the project implementation.
Beyond the victim, this should aid the law enforcement aka Police department in tracking down the phone.
CEIR will act as a central unit with the IMEI database of all mobile operators. For those of you don’t know, the IMEI is an acronym for International Mobile Equipment Identity which is a unique numerical identity of every mobile device. Since each phone has its own unique IMEI, it becomes easy to differentiate each device from one another. You can know your phone’s IMEI number by dialing *#06#. It will be given in the device’s retail box too.
The service is currently available in Maharashtra and Delhi. However, it’s soon expected to roll out to the rest of the country.
Steps to find the lost or stolen phone using CEIR
You can block the device by following any of these ways:
Through a form submitted on this website
- First things first, go file a report with the police and keep a copy of the report.
- Next up, buy a duplicate SIM Card for the lost number from your telecom operator (eg, Jio, Airtel, Voda/Idea, BSNL, MTNL, etc.). When you request for blocking the IMEI, you’ll get an OTP on this number.
- Fill out the request registration form for blocking the IMEI of lost/stolen phone, and attach the required documents. The eligible docs include – a copy of police report and an Identity Proof must be provided. You can also provide the invoice for the mobile purchase.
- After submitting the form, you will be given a Request ID. You can use this to check the status of your request and for unblocking the IMEI if required in the future.
Else you can go through the following means – TSP’s specified customer outlets or State Police.
Now, if and when a complaint against a lost or stolen phone is lodged, the network operator will share that particular device’s IMEI as blacklisted to the central database. Thence, other operators will also ban it and the device will not work on any network, even if the SIM card is removed or changed.
We hope this new initiative from the Department of Telecom works effectively. And hey, do keep a note of the phone’s IMEI number somewhere. God forbid! we wish you don’t have to use this.