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DoT complaint against MSAI registered by Delhi Police

On Wednesday, the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) registered a case on the complaint of DoT against MSAI (Mobile Standard Alliance of India). It was claimed that MSAI allegedly failed to provide data related to international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) to the government.

-DoT files complaint against MSAI-
As per R K Singh, the Additional commissioner of police of Economic Offences Wing, a case has been filed. As per the police, back in 2015, DoT issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to prohibit the import of mobile phones using fake, duplicate and non-genuine IMEI certificates. Also, the government implemented the same via the IMEI cloning and duplication restriction (ICDR) system. This system was operated by MSAI, London-based GSMA’s erstwhile reporting body.

Eventually, MSAI was responsible for all operations in the country since 2015. However, from April 2019, the GSMA reporting body in India for type allocation code (TAC) was taken over by another organisation. Notably, TAC is the first eight digits you can see in IMEI number, added the complainant to the police.

Following this, DoT wrote a letter to MSAI claiming that it was not let to operate ICDR and was asked to hand over all data pertaining to IMEI certificates, user account detatils of manufacturers, brands, importers, and custom offices, and imported devices.

-The Background of this issue-
Going by the claim of police, MSAI’s reply to this letter noted that the project was handed over to GSMA and MSAI, so it was necessary to get a mutual consent and understanding of both parties in order to proceed with the further process. In 2020, DoT wrote another letter urging MSAI to give the data and configuration to close the operations of ICDR.

However, due to the lockdown imposed by COVID-19, the office was closed and they couldn’t process the request of DoT. Going further, DoT let MSAI provide the data within seven days of the unlock phase in Delhi, added the complainant but there wasn’t any response from MSAI on this front. Later, in August 2020, there was a final opportunity given to MSAI to surrender the data but it failed once again.

After numerous failures by MSAI, a DoT official filed the complaint and the police registered a case under various sections of IPC after an investigation. During the process, investigators are probing if MSAI generated IMEI certificates after being directed to close the ICDR operations. TelecomTalk

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