The central government has reportedly prohibited the sale of select mobile phones imported from China citing security issues.
Chinese phones that do not have International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and lack necessary security features are banned in India, Press Trust of India reported citing Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament.
These measures by the goverment have been taken to improve the security of the country and curb espionage attempts. Just a month ago, Pakistan Army's intelligence wing Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) was reportedly covertly using SmeshApp to spy on Indian army personnel. The messaging application SmeshApp was immediately taken off the Google Play store.
In a related development, Indian government-run Department of Telecommunications (DoT) released the final notification that all mobile devices – feature and smartphones -- must come with panic button 2017 onwards.
No mobile phones will be sold without the SoS button from Jan. 1, 2017 and the Global Positioning System (GPS)-based navigation feature will be mandatory in all phones sold from Jan. 1, 2018, the DoT notification states.
In feature phones, pressing the number five or nine for a long time will automatically activate an emergency call to get immediate assistance, PTI reported.
The five and nine button feature will work on a smartphone too, but these phones will also come with a dedicated SoS key. Users who own other touchscreen devices that don't have the panic button can press the on-off power buttons in three quick succession. With this, the phone's security feature gets activated to send an alert to the nearest police station and to select members of family and friends in the contact list to get immediate assistance.