Unified register of IMEI. Why and for whom


Since their inception, cell phones have enjoyed increased interest from various criminal elements. Phones are stolen, stolen, taken away.

Both the manufacturers of mobile devices and the authors of operating systems are trying to make life difficult for criminals by introducing security systems designed to make smartphone theft useless. Basically, these are both access codes and remote control systems, which should block a stolen / lost device and thereby prevent the subsequent activation of such a device. These systems work with varying degrees of success. Perhaps the most efficient system currently only operates on devices Apple. At least for now, their system can be considered conditionally reliable.

Unified register of IMEI.  Why and for whom

Telecom operators are working in the same direction, offering their own methods of combating theft of mobile devices, the main of which is the creation of a single database of IMEI / ESN numbers.

Wikipedia: IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a number (has 15 digits in decimal representation, where the last digit is the control one according to the Luna algorithm, or 17, where two more are the version), unique for everyone who uses it apparatus. It is used in cell phones of GSM, WCDMA and IDEN networks and in some satellite phones.

Wikipedia: ESN is a unique device number (like IMEI). If you fail to pay under a contract in the United States, your phone is blocked for other operators by the ESN number, and it becomes with a bad ESN. Therefore, a device with a defective ESN cannot be used in the USA.

This system has been working effectively for a long time in the USA and Europe. For example, in the United States, a device included in such lists cannot be used on the networks of all American operators. These devices are often sold on eBay with a 'bad ESN' mark.

In Russia, this is not so rosy. The reality is that it is technically quite easy to find a specific device in the networks of cellular operators using its IMEI. But this is technically and in theory. In practice, the majority of such cases, if they have not become high-profile, remain unsolved. There are many reasons for this, these are both the peculiarities of legislation and a large amount of paper and bureaucratic red tape, as well as the qualifications of those representatives of law enforcement agencies who must deal with this, and their workload and prioritization of solving certain types of cases.

Unified register of IMEI.  Why and for whom

Therefore, I could not ignore the news that Russia is going to introduce IMEI control, thanks to which operators will be able to block stolen and so-called 'gray' phones. To do this, it is planned to create a unified register of IMEI gadgets, which will have to be replenished by the users themselves, registering mobile devices purchased in foreign online stores or imported from abroad.

It is supposed to create three lists, black, gray and white. Blacklisted devices will not work in the networks of Russian operators. Those included in the gray list will remain in limbo until all the circumstances are clarified (for example, devices with duplicate IMEIs), and as a result, they may end up in both the black and white lists. Well, everything is clear with the white list – legal devices.

Unified register of IMEI.  Why and for whom

Photo from the site blacklist.by

There is also a limitation according to which one user can register no more than one mobile device per year for free. The rest of the devices are offered to be registered (activated) for a fee. In addition, it is planned to synchronize this register with the international system IMEI GSMA. This means that Russian operators will become part of an international control system aimed at combating the trafficking of illegal and stolen mobile devices.

Let's try to understand in more detail whether this is a blessing, or there are still pitfalls.

To begin with, the very existence of such a database is a big plus and help in the fight against crimes related to mobile devices. If the stolen phone cannot be used for its intended purpose, then in most cases the meaning of its theft is lost. Yes, there is always an opportunity to sell such a device, as they say, for spare parts, however, given the current availability of these same spare parts, the risk is incommensurate with the potential profit from the sale of 'spare parts'.

But, like everything else in this world, this initiative also has a downside. You should start by finding out whose ears are sticking out because of this initiative. The initiative about the need to create these very lists comes from our old acquaintances from AKIT. In the light of the previous initiatives of this association, it is impossible to suspect them of altruism with all the desire.

Unified register of IMEI.  Why and for whom

In addition to the obvious attempt to reduce the number of crimes related to the turnover of stolen mobile devices, this initiative also pursues the quite selfish goals of its creators. So, according to the amendments that are planned to be introduced into the law on communications, when importing a second device per year, the user will be required to pay a tax of $ 20. Starting from the third, for each subsequent tax, it will already be $ 30. At the same time, if you fail to document the legality of the import of the device, the tax will already be $ 40. Once again, it remains only to be surprised at the appetites of AKIT and the fact that the amount of tax is an organization located in Russia and advocating (on paper) for a domestic manufacturer and promoting it, this domestic manufacturer, protection, the amount of taxes is indicated in US dollars.

It turns out that the decrease in the number of crimes related to theft or theft of mobile devices, and the simplification of solving such cases become a secondary reason, and the first place is the desire to get additional profit, which the state allegedly loses due to illegally (past AKIT wallets) imported into the country gadgets.

But God bless her, with AKIT, blessings in the true motives of the actions of this association, we had the opportunity to be convinced repeatedly and earlier. If these measures were limited to the creation of a registry of stolen / stolen devices, then the attitude towards this initiative would be unequivocally positive. But in this case, most likely, once again everything will be at our expense and from our own pocket.

Unified register of IMEI.  Why and for whom

Photo from the site chto-podarite.ru

In addition, a number of other questions arise:

– who exactly will be engaged in the creation and updating of this very database? And how much do you plan to spend on it? At the moment, the creation of the register is planned on the basis of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise TsNIIS (Central Research Institute of Communications).

– what to do with the 'gray' phones already on the territory of the Russian Federation?

– what to do with devices that appear in open criminal cases and administrative proceedings? Will they be added to the database retroactively?

– what to do with devices for which you can change the IMEI using software methods, for example, devices based on processors MediaTek?

– how the collected taxes (duties) will help the domestic producer, and what share of these funds will be directed to support this very producer?

And while some of these questions can be answered concretely, some, I'm afraid, will not be answered.

Instead of a conclusion

The creators of this initiative are voicing good goals and nod to successful international experience, while forgetting that such an experience became possible only thanks to an integrated approach. This approach implies both often a higher standard of living, and transparency of the operation of such systems, as well as a competent tax policy, thanks to which the cost of devices in the domestic market is competitive with prices on Internet sites. In our case, this process cannot be associated with anything other than 'tightening the screws to obtain super-profit'. Maybe we should pay attention to the system itself as a whole, including the legislative framework, which makes the existence of most types of both trade and production practically unprofitable, and not try to rip off “even a piece of wool from the black sheep”?

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