The IMEI uniquely identifies your cell phone like your fingerprint. Some smartphone users find data protection inadmissible here, others wonder whether they can change the IMEI out of technical curiosity or fear of theft. But is it legal to change the IMEI at all?
In addition to the SIM card, your cell phone number and your PIN, there is another security feature on your device: the IMEI. This serial number uniquely identifies your smartphone or tablet at all times. Read below what the IMEI is and whether it is forbidden to change the IMEI.
Change IMEI: You should know about the serial number beforehand
The IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is a 15-digit serial number that uniquely identifies UMTS and GSM-compatible devices such as smartphones or tablets worldwide. It thus resembles the vehicle chassis number.
When logging into the mobile network, the IMEI serial number is transmitted to the mobile operator. This compares them with the Equipment ID Register (EIR), which contains blocked numbers, for example, due to theft.
The IMEI can be used, for example, to find stolen devices or block stolen smartphones because it is used for tracking lost/stolen mobile phone. As a rule, the police use this method more for larger thefts, for example, a robbery with several stolen devices.
However, the primary aim is to find the new owner or the criminal and it is not a top priority to return the stolen smartphone or tablet to the victim.
Change IMEI – Here’s how
With a hex editor like the Hex Editor Free for Android, you can change the IMEI on your smartphone.
Hardware such as an SL box also lets you carry out “repair” actions with this flash and unlocking software box. Of course, you should have a basic knowledge of programming.
Change IMEI – is that allowed?
In addition, the providers are obliged to save their name, address, device number, and other data and, if necessary, to provide the authorities with information about them (§§ 111 ff. Telecommunications Act).
If your device can no longer be clearly identified and assigned to you by a changed IMEI, the mobile phone providers – and ultimately you too – have a legal problem.
The IMEI should only be assigned once and used once in the mobile network. The smartphones do not lose their approval, but anyone who changes their IMEI could be liable to falsify evidence-relevant data ( Section 269 of the Criminal Code ).
This article in the Criminal Code states that it is illegal to change evidence-relevant data that would deliberately mislead in legal practice.
It is therefore also illegal to intentionally use a cell phone with a modified IMEI. Even if they attempt to manipulate the IMEI is unsuccessful, the attempt is already punishable.
Does it make sense to change the IMEI?
- Rarely does it make sense to change the IMEI? W, not just hen you’re a criminal, the stolen mobile phones to sell in a big way, you should NOT change the IMEI. In the event of major thefts involving numerous stolen goods, the police make a note of the list of IMEIs. She can have the mobile phone provider check whether one of the IMEIS is registered in their network and use this number and address to find the stolen devices.
- There are also data protection advocates who change the IMEI for their privacy. But here the network can be disrupted if an assigned IMEI is already registered in it.
- Another reason for a new IMEI could be that special flat rates only apply to phones and therefore a tablet should be equipped with a new IMEI. The IMEI of an old, unused cell phone is often used for this. But here, too, there is a contractual agreement with the provider to only use the flat analogously. The fact is: changing the IMEI is illegal in any case.
- And what if you change the IMEI so that it is on the police wanted list? Of course, the investigators will then find that (most likely) it is not the same cell phone model as the stolen goods. However, we cannot predict how they will react to the changed IMEI.