India blocks 25 million mobile phones

Millions of Indian mobile phones with no valid unique identification code have been blocked for security reasons.

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a 15-digit code which appears on the operator’s network whenever a call is made. The absence of this number makes it impossible to trace either the caller or the phone or to access call details.

Indian intelligence agencies say phones without the code have been used in attacks by militant groups.

Mobile phones without the code were blocked at midnight – operators were asked to bar calls to them “in the wake of increased threat perception from militants”.

It is estimated that India has more than 25 million phones without codes.

Some mobile phone companies are claiming they didn’t know that phones had to offer identifiers.