Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Brazil: Cell Phone Locking Process Simplified

(Mar. 15, 2016) The Brazilian National Agency of Telecommunications (Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações, ANATEL) announced new measures on March 8, 2016, to facilitate the locking of cell phones in case of loss, theft, or robbery.  The president of ANATEL was quoted as saying that the purpose of the measures is to eliminate the use of stolen cell phones, which will contribute to inhibiting the commission of crimes against people, shops, and freight vehicles. (Novas Medidas para Combater Roubo e Furto de Celulares, ANATEL (Mar. 8, 2016).)

To lock a lost or stolen cell phone, now a person need only to give the cell phone service provider the line number of the device. It is no longer necessary to provide the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number, a unique 15-digit sequence present in every cell phone.  The locking can also be carried out at the police station during the registration of the theft or robbery of the equipment. (Id.)

The Superintendent of Planning and Regulation of ANATEL explained that the locking is possible through the use of the National Register of Obstructed Mobile Stations (Cadastro Nacional de Estações Móveis Impedidas, CEMI), a system coordinated by ANATEL and administered by the providers of mobile services.  With the integration of CEMI in December 2014 with the global cellular database administered by the Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (known by the acronym GSMA), it is possible to exchange information among all countries connected to the GSMA and to prevent devices stolen or lost in other countries from being activated in Brazil or in other countries. (Id.)

CEMI also enables a person to check the status of a cell phone online at IMEI Consult (last visited Mar. 9, 2016) by entering the IMEI number, which can be obtained in the product box, on the invoice, or directly on the phone itself by dialing *#06#. (Novas Medidas para Combater Roubo e Furto de Celulares, supra.)