Feeds

Prison boss demands right to jam inmates' cellphones...

Can you hear me now? Yes? Damn.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

South Carolina's state prison chief Jon Ozmint is fighting for the right to deploy mobile phone jammers, in order to prevent criminals from staying in touch while they're out of circulation.

Ozmint believes it's impossible to control the flow of handsets into the prison even with random cell and body searches, and that mobes are becoming a currency within the penal system. Instances of lags running their criminal empires remotely abound, with at least one hit reportedly organised from the comfort of a prison cell. Ozmint reckons that the majority of prison escapes are coordinated using cellular technology.

But jamming can only be deployed by Federal officials, and even then only where absolutely necessary. Although manufacturers have lobbied the FCC and the Department of Homeland Security to allow them to sell their technology to local law enforcement, the increased risks of interfering with essential communications and of jammers falling into the wrong hands have prevented any change in the law thus far.

The South Carolina proposal is slightly different, in that the chief wants jamming technology fitted around the prison and permanently activated. Radio specialists CellAntenna Corp has said it can provide kit that will only block signals within the prison, and promises that even directly outside the prison walls the jamming will go unnoticed.

Technically there's no particular difficultly in jamming most mobile phone systems. Blanketing the frequency with interference is the most basic way, but cleverer options exist, such as creating a dummy base-station that connects to no-where, or blocking the windows with a suitable fabric. But regardless of technology used, it's also going to prevent legitimate mobe use as well, and thereby fall foul of the federal Communications Act, summed up by Jon Ozmint:

"It's just hypocrisy beyond the pale of reason that the big bad federal government goes, 'Oh, well, we can use this technology, but you poor little states can't use the same technology to protect your citizens.'"

It seems unlikely that South Carolina will manage to get Congress to change the law, but with backing from companies keen to sell the jamming technology it could well be the start of a bigger push to prevent in-cell cellular comms. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.