International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is the unique identity of any smartphone. It is mostly used to track a smartphone in case of theft or of criminals. Now, Over 13,500 smartphones are found having the same IMEI number and all are manufactured by brand VIVO.
Vivo is among the top 5 smartphone sellers in India. The case come under the light when a Sub-Inspector in the Meerut Police got his smartphone back after being replaced by a Vivo service center. He usually sees a system error and later found that the IMEI number of the device has been changed. The Sub-Inspector paid Rs. 2,605 to repair his smartphone.
A case has been filed and notice was sent under Section 91 of CrPC (summons to produce document) to the Smartphone Manufacturer Vivo but due to poor response, a case has been filed in the cyber cell department. After a long investigation of five months, the Police found that there are 13,557 Vivo smartphones operational throughout the country with the same IMEI number.
In a talk with the Live Mint, Akhilesh N. Singh, Additional Superintendent of Police (City), Meerut confirmed that cases have been registered under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Vivo. Meanwhile, Vivo has not commented upon the matter yet.
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This is very worrying…even if it were a glitch, imagine if a crime is committed and thousands of phones have the same ID as the one being traced. How will the police know who to trace?ADG (Meerut) Rajeev Sabharwal to TOI
In 2017, the federal government has announced that IMEI tampering is a punishable offense with three years of jail term. Yet we can see that over 13,500 smartphones have been identified using the same IMEI number. Due to IMEI tampering, it becomes almost impossible to find the device in case of crimes. A similar incident happened in 2012 when Kapil Sibal informed the Rajya Sabha that there were over 18,000 smartphones operational in the country with the same IMEI number.