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Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act 2002

Section 1: Re-programming mobile telephone etc.

7.This section creates the offence of changing or interfering with a unique device identifier. The offence is triable either way. The offence is punishable on conviction on indictment by up to 5 years’ imprisonment or a fine or both. The offence is punishable on summary conviction by up to 6 months’ imprisonment or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (currently £5,000) or both.

8.Subsection (2) defines a unique device identifier as an electronic equipment identifier which is unique to a mobile wireless communications device. The offence is defined in terms which ensure that it will still be relevant to future generations of mobile communications devices which may have different electronic equipment identifiers.

9.Subsection (3) makes it clear that no offence is committed where the manufacturer, or someone with the manufacturer’s written consent, changes or interferes with the operation of a unique device identifier. Other than the manufacturers themselves, only a very limited and strictly controlled number of service centres have express authorisation to change the IMEI number.

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