Pinephone IMEI changing info: do you think its OK for a Wiki?
#1
Wink 
Dear friends, recently I have submitted the IMEI changing info to the PinePhone Wiki - see below! Unfortunately, we are having a disagreement with another Wiki contributor who has reverted my edits without having a prior discussion. My point of view:

Quote:Unfortunately, I noticed that "IMEI check and change" has been reverted for the reason "Illegal wiki contents removed". Please tell, "illegal" - in what country? I.e. PINE64 is a Hong Kong company, while a Pine64 wiki website is hosted in Slovakia, - and I can't any info that changing IMEI in either Hong Kong or Slovakia is illegal, or at least posting the "how-to" information about this. And what isn't forbidden - is allowed. For the majority of countries (not taking some totalitarian ones into account), changing IMEI is as legal as changing the MAC address which has been allowed to stay.

Since a "pinephone change imei" seems to be a popular Google request - it's even more popular than "pinephone change os"! - I'd like to preserve this information for the public usage. If, to be able to do that, I need to re-word/extend the warning about the possible legal issues (something like "please check the laws of your country before doing that") - please let me know.

At the same time I understand this advanced information is probably not suitable for the main PinePhone page. Please tell what's the more appropriate place in your opinion - PineModems, PinePhone_Software_Tweaks or PinePhone_FAQ#Modem ?

However, I didn't hear any valid reasoning in response: the only reply I got in regards to this - is:

Quote:Please don't re-add information regarding the IMEI on the wiki.

Personally I believe that information should be free - and, if someone would like to change IMEI of his PinePhone for privacy reasons, it's better if he/she learns this info from a trusted place such as PinePhone Wiki and with a warning accompanying this message. And you - do you believe that this information is OK for a Wiki?

Quote:== AT commands ==

A list of documented AT commands can be found in the document-link-here from Quectel. In example, to show the current IMEI number:

Code:
sudo su
atinout - /dev/EG25.AT out.txt << EOF
> AT+EGMR=0,7
> EOF
cat ./out.txt # to see the IMEI

Also, there are certain undocumented AT commands. In example, to change the PinePhone IMEI number to a valid newIMEI one:

Code:
sudo su
atinout - /dev/EG25.AT out.txt << EOF
> AT+EGMR=1,7,"newIMEI"
> EOF
cat ./out.txt # should output OK

Then use AT+EGMR=0,7 to see if IMEI has been changed successfully, - and, to see that IMEI change is persistent: shutdown a phone, remove a battery, press a power button to discharge the motherboard, put a battery back, turn on the phone and run AT+EGMR=0,7 again.

Such a command has to be approached with caution: although in the majority of countries changing IMEI by itself is not illegal (or at least not prosecuted unless you are doing something malicious using this capability), still a cellphone service provider may ban your IMEI and/or phone number if it sees two cellphones with the same IMEI being used simultaneously. So it should be done with common sense: in example, if you don't want your cellphone service provider (or the governmental/commercial entities it could be supplying with information) to know that you have replaced your old phone, you could change the IMEI of your PinePhone to be identical to your old phone's, just avoid using them simultaneously or at least don't connect them to the same provider.

Further undocumented AT commands found by the developer megi, who reverse-engineered parts of the modem and its firmware, can be found on megi's website here.
#2
Even for UK or Latvia there is no clear-cut answer whether changing IMEI is legal or illegal - only that it can be illegal based on circumstances. For other countries like USA the answer is even more muddy...

I'd say if you don't want to get in trouble - do consult a good lawyer. With a hard copy of their findings on paper, and a question based on your specific circumstances. I think I'd be OK with IMEI changing info being in the wiki if there is this big fat disclaimer along the lines of "we cannot be held responsible for your actions, whether they lead to your phone being bricked or to you getting arrested. Make sure to consult your lawyer before actually changing your IMEI, as it may be illegal in your country."
This message was created with 100% recycled electrons
#3
Huh

How can you be certain you are not changing your IMEI to someone elses IMEI number when you change yours  ?
AND
Using someone else's IMEI number is definitely illegal !

I don't think the act of changing your IMEI number would be illegal in most places,  but the final results of doing it could be. 

If there was a clearing house that issued individual IMEI numbers it could work,  but then the issue of privacy returns  ?

Also :  How the carrier's equipment see's and handles your call may depend on the correct modem manufacturers identification.
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#4
(08-25-2021, 01:55 AM)bcnaz Wrote: How can you be certain you are not changing your IMEI to someone elses IMEI number when you change yours  ?

IMEI is 15 digits long - so 10^15 different numbers, while it's estimated there are less than 8*10^9 mobile phones in the world. So it's 0.000008 chance of you accidentally picking someone else's IMEI, and much less of you both being in the same network.

And it is possible to rule out even this unlikely probability, if you change the IMEI to that of some broken/old phone which you own and/or which is guaranteed to never be used again.
#5
I don't think that is 15 random numbers, 'part of this number' is used to tell the carrier's equipment how to communicate with your modem. '
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#6
(08-25-2021, 02:28 AM)bcnaz Wrote: I don't think that is 15 random numbers

Indeed, the first 8 numbers seem to be a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_Allocation_Code . What's interesting there are a few lines in this table like "typical fake TAC codes, usually in software damaged phones".

So it's true there are less random numbers. Although, even if we'd be changing IMEI to our old phone ones out of precaution, this will still give us a small privacy benefit: our network provider, and those getting the information from it, wouldn't know that we've switched to a PinePhone  Wink
#7
I think in the interest of protecting Pine64, it may be better to give the standard warning and a link to the actual information on another site.

Legal and illegal are kinda off the table in this politically correct world we now find ourselves now in. (Not by choice)

We need to help to keep the Pine64 Forum up and running, and not give others a shot at causing a disruption of our Forum.

Perhaps ask Luke or TLLim ?
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#8
(08-25-2021, 02:41 AM)bcnaz Wrote: Perhaps ask Luke or TLLim ?
Good idea! Now I will share a link to this thread to them in a PM and ask their opinion
#9
In the LAMESTREAM  Media :   

            Just owning a Pine phone could make everyone of us a Terrorist !

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#10
Just thinking about it might already be illegal.
:wq



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