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India blocks service to millions of handsets

Mobile phones without a valid identification number are being blocked in India as part of a government security drive.

India has blocked service to all mobile phones without a valid identity code, as part of antiterrorist measures being implemented by the Indian government.

On Monday, any handset without a valid International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) code had its connection cut off, according to the Indian Cellular Association (ICA), which represents mobile operators in the country. The mobile industry is complying with a government directive that arose after discussions between Indian security agencies and the Indian Department of Telecommunications, the ICA added.

The IMEI, a 15-digit number printed inside a phone, can be used to identify a particular device on an operator's network, meaning it can be tracked by security services. In addition, network providers can use the absence of an IMEI to cut off a phone.

Read more of "India blocks service to millions of handsets" at ZDNet UK.