The government of India intends to launch a pilot project to test technology that locates lost or cloned mobile phones in real time, according to a report by The Hindu. Telecordia, a US based company, will conduct the trial run of the technology and has already received a nod from the department of telecom. It should be noted that Telecordia already provides mobile number portability (MNP) service in the country through its subsidiary MNP Interconnect Telecom Solutions Indian Pvt Ltd.

For the real time tracking of devices, the government plans to set up a Central Device Information Registry (CDIR), which will be developed by Telecordia. According to the report, the CDIR will enable security agencies to track devices based on the identity number. The system can be used to track stolen mobile phones and to prevent counterfeit or unauthorized mobile devices.

The registry will maintain information on handsets, including the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) for all networks, with cross-references to the national number portability database. All of this information will be updated in real time. The DoT claims that that this method will enable telcos to provide an effective anti-theft service like immediate blocking of the SIM card once replaced after the theft.

All service providers and security agencies will have access to the registry, as per the report. DoT is currently working to implement proper conditions so that the data collected during the trial is not misused. At present, the trials conducted by Telecordia will not cost the government a dime.

Currently, Telcos do provide device tracking solutions but those involve traditional equipment identity registers that rely on static data and thus cannot be always used in tracking a phone in case of a mobile theft. So implementing a real time system to track mobile phone might significantly deter mobile theft.

Other players: Handset makers such as HTC, and Apple offer tools to remotely locate and wipe user data on a lost/stolen smartphone, the feature doesn’t work if the phone does not have access to data.What the government is trying to implement will have broader application, however, it needs to seen that that the information collected is not misused.