Deutsche Telekom is testing blocking procedure for stolen phones, based on blockchain.

06-06-2018 Nicole Schmidt

  • Deutsche Telekom testing blockchain-based technology for blocking stolen smartphones
  • Pilot project with SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain
  • Decentralized blocking list for fast, uncomplicated device lockout


Testing blocking procedure for stolen phones, based on blockchain

Spoiling the fun of smartphone thieves with high tech: Deutsche Telekom is currently testing a blocking procedure for stolen phones, based on blockchain. Nearly 600 smartphones are stolen in Germany every day. When sensitive data like photos, videos, conversations, or accounts gets into the wrong hands, it can cause a lot of trouble for the victims. Right now, the only way to protect personal data is to block the smartphone through its IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. To do so, Deutsche Telekom places a device's IMEI on an internal blocking list, which prevents the phone from connecting with Deutsche Telekom's network. The thief can continue using the smartphone in other mobile networks, however.

Public blocking lists create transparency

Together with implementation partner Camelot Innovative Technologies Lab, Deutsche Telekom is now testing an application it has designed, "Global IMEI Storage and Services", as part of the "SAP Co-Innovation Program on Blockchain" initiative. This decentralized blocking list, which is managed based on blockchain technology, will make it possible to anonymize blocked IMEI numbers and make them available to other partners, such as other network operators. As a result, customer smartphones can be blocked by all network providers, device manufacturers or by IT asset management of big companies quickly and unbureaucratically.

Public blocking lists would also be helpful for people interested in buying used smartphones, because it would enable them to check whether an offered phone has been reported stolen with just a few clicks.

The "Global IMEI Storage and Service" solution is based on SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain, SAP’s blockchain as a service offering. This solution scenario will be presented to the public for the first time at SAPPHIRE, the annual SAP conference, which is taking place in Orlando from June 5-7, 2018.

Blockchain is a concept and a architecture based on distributed ledger technology for recording and sharing data across a multi-party network. All transactions within these databases are documented unalterably in chains of consecutive blocks – hence the name. In this approach, the participating partners manage and verify the data together, ensuring maximum transparency.

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