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Govt apps to locate lost phones

Ever lost your smartphone and faced anxious moments? Soon you will not only be able to track down your lost phone but also be able to deactivate it to prevent misuse by someone else.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is consolidating solutions to key security issues such as mobile phone theft, counterfeit mobile phones, and fraudulent mobile connections under one single security application – which will be launched across India on May 17, 2023.

Speaking with businessline on conditions of anonymity, an official at the DoT indicated that the department is expanding the Central Equipment Identity Register (CIER) pilot project, nationwide. The Telecom Analytics for Fraud and Consumer Protection (TAF-COP), another initiative led by the DoT, will also be launched across India.

Central Equipment Identity Register
The CIER initiative was started by the DoT in Maharashtra in 2017 to address the issue of the theft of mobile phones as well as the growing number of counterfeit mobile phones in the market.

It is essentially an equipment identity register that tracks the International Mobile Equipment Identity Register (IMEIR), the unique 15-digit identification code for each mobile device.

Using the IMEIR, the CIER project can block mobile devices that have been reported to be stolen and facilitate recovery of the mobile device by local police if the stolen device is activated. This will protect the valuable data of the consumer present on the device. Similarly, counterfeit mobile phones can also be identified since they don’t have these unique IMEIR.

According to the senior DoT official, the required preparation on the backend, such as the addition of more servers and coordination with local police authorities has been completed ahead of the May 17 launch.

TAF-COP is also set for a pan India expansion, and might be consolidated with CIER.

What is TAF-COP
TAF-COP is a cybersecurity project that notifies consumers about all the mobile phones listed under an Aadhar number.

Consumers can enter their Aadhar number into the TAF-COP portal and get a detailed account of mobile phone connections registered under their name.

In case there is fraudulent registration of mobile numbers under a person’s name, they will be able to regularise the matter.

At present, TAF-COP is live in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry. However, DoT is planning to expand TAF-COP nationwide by May as well.

The DoT had allocated ₹220 crore to the Digital Intelligence Unit Project, in this Budget, which was ten times the amount allocated in the previous year.

This is being done to bolster cybersecurity measures such as CIER and TAF-COP, and the official says new products are also in the pipeline.

These applications not only benefit consumers, but also mobile OEMs, Qualcomm and Mediatek as well.

Online retailers such as Amazon have also lobbied for the CIER project. The Hindu BusinessLine

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