What is IMEI, what are its goals, and can the government track you down using IMEI?

Many people are there who find the IMEI numbers pretty mysterious, and they are also around the web. These 15-digit long numbers, which are stamped at the different parts of your phone, are most usually used to find out or identify it, and many of them wonder, “What is an IMEI?” And whether they can be used for some unlawful activities or for surveillance. Here in this guide, you will come to know about the IMEI numbers and what they are and they can be used and how can you look for the numbers. What is IMEI? It is called the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity Number. It is used to find devices that use a cellular network that is terrestrial.

Objectives of IMEI Numbers

As the IMEI standard is used for any kind of terrestrial cellular network device, such as 3G, 4G, or 5G tablets or laptops with old PCMCIA or new integrated PCIe 4G LTE or 5G wireless cards, there are other pieces of equipment that are also tagged with those numbers. If you use a dual-SIM phone, then you will find two IMEI numbers—one for each SIM. There is only one main objective of the IMEI number that is to find out the mobile devices. Their next objective is to stop the theft. If a mobile device is identified universally, then a thief will not be able to change the SIM card of the phone, and even if they do, the new SIM will not work on it. The IMEI numbers are deeply coded into the device rather than the card, which provides an additional layer of identification that cannot be interchanged.

Blacklist the IMEI Code: 

When a user knows that their device has been stolen or lost, they can blacklist the IMEI code and make it lock out of network. It will also tell the other networks cellular ones to blacklist the same. Every country has their own strategies for how it will work, i.e., either by means of a blocklist as the majority of the networks will do this. If you purchase a phone online that is not connected to your mobile carrier’s plan, then you may be at risk, as your carrier may not have the legal right or green light to blacklist the IMEI number.

Government Using Your IMEI to Track You, Is it Possible? 

The answer is yes; it is possible. Other ways it also depends if they cannot connect a name or some type of personal identification to your IMEI number, they don’t know who your phone truly belongs to. This is most often the case with prepaid customers. Since they don’t have any type of contract with the wireless carriers, there is no way to connect a face or ID card to the IMEI number. And the process of doing the same is pretty tedious.

This is one of the reasons why the government in Europe, with the exception of Latvia, Romania, and many other eastern European nations, and some of them in the Middle East, has passed a law that requires purchasers of prepaid SIM cards to show photo identification. In fact, by 2022, 157 governments had done the same. If you have a contract with a mobile network carrier, the government can issue a search warrant to use your IMEI data for number and location tracking. Even if you switch out your SIM card with a prepaid one, you can still be traced. Besides the government, hackers can also track you using your IMEI number.

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