INSIDER reported yesterday that Saudi authorities are tracking down women who flee its repressive society by using their cell phone IMEI numbers.
The technique — usually reserved for issues of war and national security — can be replicated on more or less any mobile device, using a 15-digit serial code.
When you make a call, use 4G data, or send a text, your IMEI number is broadcast through nearby cell towers, and is used by your network provider.
Here’s how a government or person, benign or malicious, could get your IMEI and track you down by using it.
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An INSIDER investigation has revealed Saudi Arabia is tracking down women who run away — often fleeing abuse — by using their cell phone IMEI number.
Although rarely used outside of the realms of crime, national security, and armed conflict, the technique is possible to use to find almost any mobile device.
Every cell phone has an International Mobile Equipment Identity number, or IMEI. They are 15 digits long, and no two are the same. Contained within the numbers are details of the make and model of the device.
It’s a bit like a serial number. Disguised within the 15-digit pattern is the make and model of your phone.
IMEI numbers are commonly written on the SIM tray or behind the battery pack of a cellphone. On the iPhone 6S and earlier models, it’s located on the bottom end on the back.
When you make a phone call, use data, or send a text, your IMEI number is included in the information transmitted to cell towers, and is available to your network operator — a company like Vodafone or AT&T.
Most of the time, the number is not used for anything beyond providing the signals your phone needs to work.
However, police, intelligence agencies, and the military can use the number to track a phone to a given location.
Usually this only happens when a phone has been stolen and police are trying to locate it. It can also be used by security agencies to track and hunt terrorists.
Read more: Saudi Arabia runs a huge, sinister online database of women that men use to track them and stop them from running away
One women fleeing Saudi Arabia, who spoke to INSIDER, reported how Saudi intelligence worked with police in the country of Georgia to get hold of her IMEI number.
Another Saudi …read more
Source:: Business Insider