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Cellphones Communications Government Handhelds Your Rights Online

Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones 97

Posted by timothy
from the taxation-failing-to-buy-civilization dept.
First time accepted submitter fabrica64 writes "The Brazilian government has today started blocking mobile phones not sold in Brazil (Portuguese-language original), i.e. not having paid sales taxes here. The blocking is based on IMEI, and if you come to Brazil for the World Cup in June and think of buying a Brazilian SIM card to call locally at lower rates, then it won't work because your mobile's IMEI will be blacklisted as not sold in Brazil. This is not a joke, it's true!"
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Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

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  • by Michael Casavant (2876793) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:10AM (#46515865)
    Now stolen iPhone's from the US will be worth SLIGHTLY less. Because nobody can clone an IMEI...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who told you that (lie)?, it's a common practice on the phone black market

      • by what2123 (1116571)
        Can I get a citation please? Preferable one for the IMEI being clone-able.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Citation [wikimedia.org]
  • by knightmad (931578) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:11AM (#46515879)

    However, these electronics will continue to operate normally until at least September, when the deactivations should actually begin. Until then, the system will only mount a database with information on the equipment in use in Brazil.

    This is a new low, blatant lies in the summary only for cheap country based hate and some pageviews. Good job!

    • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:35AM (#46516139)

      Brazilian here. AFAIK, the only IMEIs blocked are going to be those of phones that didn't go through Anatel's (Brazil's FCC counterpart) approval process. Meaning mostly chinese knockoffs. It's highly unlikely that your S3 won't work here, since S3s are sold locally (in both US and international versions, BTW).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And HTC, Acer, Archos... There are a lot of brands not selling in Brazil oficially.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fabrica64 (791212)
        It was about to start blocking in April, but someone in the government got a ping from someone else about being very bad news blocking phones during the world cup... But it's not certain it will begin in September or if will ever start blocking, given all mobile operators are against this "system" BTW this is not only about Chinese smartphone (where you can change IMEI in a snap), it is about blocking smartphones not sold in Brazil (although nobody will ever admit it in the government). IMEI can differentia
        • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @11:48AM (#46516995)

          Apparently this will be done on an approved device's universal IMEI range. Vetting individual IMEIs is neither practical nor legal, as you can't stop someone from using a government approved, legally imported phone from using it on all networks.

          • by fabrica64 (791212)
            Probably yes (initial IMEI list will be provided by manufacturers) but once you have this system in place the government might use it more effectively to control and block smartphones not sold in Brazil. Why do you need such a system? Mobile operators hate it (if you pay you are ok), Anatel (the Brazilian FCC) approves GSM standards and most of smartphones abide to these standards, there's no technical reason here. The system can control individual IMEIs and it will also be used to control stolen devices
          • by weave (48069) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @12:28PM (#46517497) Journal
            I do believe Turkey blocks on individual IMEI. At least that was what I was warned of before I went for a visit. It happens after a few weeks so tourists are probably fine. Reference: http://www.turkeytravelplanner... [turkeytravelplanner.com]
          • by Schezar (249629) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @12:40PM (#46517623) Homepage Journal

            Vetting individual IMEIs is neither practical nor legal, as you can't stop someone from using a government approved, legally imported phone from using it on all networks.

            You're wrong. It's both feasible and, in many countries, legal.

            Turkey already does this. If you use a foreign phone of any kind with a Turkish SIM, your individual IMEI will be blocked in 24-48 hours. The only way around that is to pay a significant fee to the government, register your phone/IMEI, and then wait a week or so for the registration to take effect. Note that you can't register AFTER the phone is blocked. If you let it get blocked, you're basically screwed.

            Turkey does this to prevent the importation of phones that didn't pay local taxes, and also to ensure that all users of phones/data are registered and tracked within the country.

            • by mjwx (966435)

              You're wrong. It's both feasible and, in many countries, legal.

              AT&T in the US does it... If you have a foreign phone you need to get the IMEI registered with AT&T before you can use data on the device. I had a Galaxy Nexus (purchased legally and outright in Australia) and had to go into an AT&T store in Las Vegas to get it registered before it would work.

              It's very feasible to block individual IMEI's, you just have a white list of allowed IMEI's and block everything else.

          • by fabrica64 (791212)
            The system works this way: - there is a blacklist of TAC (initial part of IMEI that identify manufacturer, model and sub model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]) - actually info for this blacklist is furnished by manufacturers, that will probably include all their models regardless of being or not sold in Brazil, but this can be later changed by Anatel, restricting the list - there will be a whitelist of "blacklisted IMEIs" activated in the network before March 17th, 2014 - there will be a blacklist of per
          • by fabrica64 (791212)
            The system works this way:
            - there is a blacklist of TAC (initial part of IMEI that identify manufacturer, model and sub model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T [wikipedia.org]... [wikipedia.org])
            - actually info for this blacklist is furnished by manufacturers, that will probably include all their models regardless of being or not sold in Brazil, but this can be later changed by Anatel, restricting the list
            - there will be a whitelist of "blacklisted IMEIs" activated in the network before March 17th, 2014
            - there will be a blac
      • by wulfhere (94308)

        Comments like this are why Slashdot needs to allow a score higher than +5.

  • Should we... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arkh89 (2870391) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:12AM (#46515889)

    Should we understand that some of the articles posted on Slashdot are jokes then?

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Around this time of year, there's always some doubt.
      • by cellocgw (617879)

        Should we understand that some of the articles posted on Slashdot are jokes then?

        Around this time of year, there's always some doubt.

        Well, yeah, if you define "this time of year" as 1 January through 31 December.

    • Idle submissions are the devil's playthings!
  • Scaremongering... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.telecompaper.com/news/brazil-to-introduce-mobile-blocking-system--1002303

    Brazilian mobile operators will start testing from 17 March a new system that will block mobile calls made by pirate devices, reports Folha de Sao Paulo. The total blockade of the devices will be effective from September. Until then, during the so-called "pre-operational" stage of the system, equipment must continue to function normally. When an operator identifies a device without approval in Brazil, the system should activ

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:15AM (#46515915)

    It says that MODELS not sold in Brazil won't work there, not devices. So, for example, iPhones will work because they're sold there. It's been known for a while and the law was designed to avoid low quality, low security Chinese android phones to be sold.

    • by felipou (2748041)
      Unfortunately, it's not so simple. Although the iPhone 5S is sold here, for example, the only certified Model is the A1457, as you can see in the this page [anatel.gov.br], if you understand Portuguese.

      It's a page from Anatel, the government agency responsible for cellphone communications in Brazil (something like FCC in the USA, I guess) which shows certified wireless communication devices for use in Brazil.

      Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] tells me there are at least 7 models of the iPhone 5S out there, so only one of these will work in Br
      • by dafradu (868234)
        Manufactures don't wait until phones hit the market to get their products approved, its done much earlier. Haven't you heard about the amazon controller that leaked from the very same Anatel? http://www.theverge.com/2014/3... [theverge.com]

        Also, the most important information that the story doesn't say. The system will work together with international partners (FCC etc), so it doesn't matter where it was certified, it will work here. Source: http://idgnow.com.br/blog/circ... [idgnow.com.br]
        • by dafradu (868234)
          This are the kind of phones this system will block: http://tecnologia.uol.com.br/a... [uol.com.br]

          Noname Iphone look-a-like that runs android
          Knockoff Motorola Ferrari that runs some java based OS
          Same with a SonyEricsson Walkman
          An Galaxy S3 copy with a Nokia battery
          There is also the Hiphones, Sqmy, Sonia, PolyStation and so many others...
    • by nmnilsson (549442)

      ...the law was designed to avoid low quality, low security Chinese android phones...

      That may be part of the truth.
      Another part is that it encourages/forces phone manufacturers to have factories in Brazil - providing jobs and investing in national infrastructure - as import tax is so high that imported phones can't compete.
      I worked several years with a major brand phone manufacturer. All their factories were in low cost / high tech Asian countries - plus one Brazil.

  • They may be able to boss around the world cup officials but wait til the IOC wields its economic might to force Brazil's hand.

  • Are they going to make you strip naked after you get off of the airplane unless you can prove that you paid Brazilian sales tax on your clothes?
    • Brazil has a problem of being overly controlling of its economy. The kind of stuff the conservatives will hop on and try to discredit any government controls on the economy.

      I think the main thing they are trying to stop is reselling on the black market.
      Chances are you are not going to resell your clothing if you are on a trip. But you may sell your phone if you need a quick buck... Or you may come in with say 20 of them to sell. Brazil has a heavy sales tax on stuff, so I expect black market sales of go

  • Will it affect roaming or only sim swaps?
  • by NoNeeeed (157503) <slash@NoSPAm.paulleader.co.uk> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:22AM (#46515993) Homepage

    This submission appears to be nonsense posted by someone who hasn't read the article they linked to.

    This isn't about blocking phones sold outside of Brazil, but models of phones that are not certified for use in Brazil. So you can take your Nexus 5 or iPhone, but it's probable that some no-name cheapo phones may not work.

    The IMEI number contains codes for the manufacturer and model, so you can white-list those models that have certification from the Brazilian FCC.

    • by felipou (2748041) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @11:14AM (#46516587)
      Unfortunately, it's not so simple. Although the iPhone 5S is sold here, for example, the only certified Model is the A1457, as you can see in the this page [anatel.gov.br], if you understand Portuguese.

      It's a page from Anatel, the government agency responsible for cellphone communications in Brazil (something like FCC in the USA, I guess) which shows certified wireless communication devices for use in Brazil.

      Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] tells me there are at least 7 models of the iPhone 5S out there, so only one of these will work in Brazil, eventually. Unless Apple certifies all models with Anatel, which I doubt will happen.

      Also, If you bring your shiny new cellphone shortly after launch, it probably won't work either, because the iPhone is released here with a few months delay, usually.

      So, basically, fuck this shit.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      And of course you cant ever change an IMEI number..

  • So you go on vacation in Brazil and you either pay international roaming fees or you buy a cheap dumb phone to make local calls. Lame but not too expensive. Furthermore a dump phone needs to be charged once per week or even less frequently.

    Btw, are they going to confiscate tourists clothes on entry? They've not been not bought in Brazil, so no sales tax paid there!

    • by weave (48069)
      Your international phone with roaming would still go through their towers and potentially be blocked.
      • by pmontra (738736)
        If it is so that blockade won't last long. There will be pressure from both international and Brazilian phone operators to relax it because they'll lose a fair amount of profits.
  • Not really... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The original article actually says that the government will block devices that were not approved by Anatel (Telecommunications Agency) due to many of the smuggled cheap phones and tablets (most of them manufactured in China) have not passed their certification.
    Although the idea is good, I think it will cause lots of issues with users with valid and certified devices. Let's wait and see....

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Although the idea is good, I think it will cause lots of issues with users with valid and certified devices. Let's wait and see....

      The chinese phone manufacturers are going to start faking codes in the ranges assigned to other vendors' models, such as Apple's. Resulting in multiple phones from different manufacturers claiming to have the same IMEI

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Actually, the news talks that the government action is to block phones that are not homologated (technicaly certified) by the Brazilian's telecommunications agency (ANATEL, the coutrie's equivalent of the FCC). It doesn't have to do with sales tax and seems to be intented to prevent the use of "pirates" phones, that might cause problems to the telecommunications network or even to the users. For example: if you buy an iPhone in the USA you could use it at Brazil, because this model is homologated by ANATEL.

  • by dacarr (562277) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:30AM (#46516077) Homepage Journal

    ...this line:

    "This is not a joke, it's true!"

    ...in the OP makes my bogometer [catb.org] go to eleven.

  • Just don't go to Brazil for the World Cup in June.
    • Please don't. I'll be going for a university engagement and a bunch of rowdy football travelers are going to gum up the flights and push prices up.

  • "First time accepted submitter fabrica64 writes"

    I'm curious what fabrica64's failed submissions were. This should of been one of them.
  • So, this is to prevent cheap Chinese knock-off phones from being usable? Well guess-a-what, most of them already include a helpful utility to set the IMEI to whatever you want. All the fix will be is a couple of lines of whatever the Portuguese equivalent of "Engrish" is called, instructing the buyer:

    Much enjoy new DroidPhone Galaxy 5!
    For luck of happiness, user set IMEI copy basicphone
    Please IMEI set application WRITE IMEI
    Excellent signal received all times!

    • That's the kind of feature I want to see in a phone. I want one of those cheap but functional Chinese (where they make all the phones) phones.
       

  • It may be true, but it is nonetheless a joke.

  • The official policy is that if a device is FCC-certified or ETSI-certified, it WILL NOT be blocked.

    http://macmagazine.com.br/2014... [macmagazine.com.br]

  • Turkey has been doing this for a while. Money hungry pricks.
  • nobody in the government here would want such a major embarassment
  • ...not that it was really at the top of my list anyway. But seriously? They expect you to buy a new phone just to visit/travel there? That's going to be a serious problem for a lot of people. It's almost as though they want you stay out.

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