Stealing phones would be pointless

LLC NEWLAND technology / 11.11.2017

Stealing phones would be pointless

A draft concept for monitoring mobile devices by IMEI number is being discussed in Russia. As experts believe, the maintenance of the all-Russian system of control over subscriber devices will minimize the cases of theft, stop the importation of counterfeit mobile phones and smartphones into the country, and at the same time replenish the treasury.

Tested on international experience

According to law enforcement authorities, every third theft in Russia over the past three years has been linked to the theft of smartphones and mobile phones. Among all registered types of theft a significant share is made by criminal encroachments against subscriber devices - from 167 to 185 thousand annually. In addition to material damage, affected subscribers lose personal, commercial and service data stored in the devices.

According to Irina Levova, a member of the Expert Council under the Government of Russia and curator of the working group "Communications and IT", the problem of security of smartphone owners will fundamentally solve the state control over the database of IMEI numbers (international identifier of mobile equipment). "The main prerequisites for the introduction of the subscriber device control system - theft and uncontrolled import of uncertified mobile devices - are up to 20 percent annually (about 4.7 million units). The state loses billions of dollars in the form of unassembled taxes," said Levova, speaking at a meeting of the Interim Commission of the Federation Council on Information Society Development on June 26.

The expert cited international experience to prove her words. For example, in Australia, after the introduction of the IMEI control system, the number of locked devices was reduced by four times, and 43 thousand devices were found and returned to their rightful owners. In England, the reduction in theft after the introduction of a similar control system was over 20 percent. In Turkey, the level of theft fell by 90 percent, and the tax profit due to the decrease in the share of counterfeit products was 10.5 billion dollars. In Ukraine, additional budget revenues from the introduction of IMEI control system for four years amounted to about 500 million dollars.

Black, white, gray

To ensure the safety of Russian users of mobile devices, and at the same time to supplement the federal budget with taxes will help amendments to the legislation that introduce a system of control over all subscriber devices imported into the territory of Russia or made by domestic manufacturers.

The main prerequisites for the introduction of the subscriber device control system are theft and uncontrolled importation of uncertified mobile devices.

For the proper functioning of the system, the experts who worked on the project "Concepts of subscriber's devices control by IMEI number" proposed to form several lists of subscriber's devices: black, white and grey. The blacklist will include stolen, illegally imported and blocked at the request of law enforcement agencies subscriber devices, which will be denied service on mobile radiotelephone networks. The white list will be formed of fully functioning subscriber devices. And the grey list will include those devices that operate on the VRTS networks temporarily - while the legality of their import and purchase is being checked. From this list the devices can be moved to black or white, respectively.

4,7 millions Uncertified mobile devices are imported into Russia every year.

In addition, the concept implies that the central database of international identifiers of mobile equipment of the Russian Federation will be synchronized with the international database IMEI GSMA, to which 118 mobile operators from 43 countries have already been connected. And in the long run, experts believe, it is advisable to consider the possibility of creating a single database of IMEI within the EAEU, where Russia will become a flagship of innovation.

"If there is such regulation in the Russian Federation, nothing prevents other countries from introducing similar regulation in the framework of international cooperation," said Lyudmila Bokova, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building. - We can propose a format of a model law, which other countries can use as a basis.

100 percent protection

In order for the IMEI control system to appear and work, the ready-made concept has to take the form of a law. "I think we will set up a special working group within a month to deal with the regulations. We have already written in the concept what changes should be made to what documents. This mainly concerns the Law "On Communications", that is, the basic law, and in September we will discuss the very body of the law, what is needed there," - told the "Parliamentary newspaper" after a meeting of Lyudmila Bokova.

The senator emphasized that among the conceptual innovations is the introduction of the concept of IMEI in our legislation, which is currently absent in it. Further, the issue of organization of registration and control of identifier numbers by the state regulator - the Central Database of IMEI of Russia - should be solved.

As for ordinary subscribers, the innovation, according to the parliamentarian, will mean two things for them - security from theft and a guarantee that he will use a clean, not a counterfeit product. IMEI is a unique code that will allow a subscriber to protect himself from fraudulent activities by 100 percent," Bokova is convinced. - For example, in case of theft a person will be able to quickly block and find his device. And if the phone is blocked, why and who will need it?

Parliamentary newspaper.