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back to article FCC offers prison boss phone jamming help

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has offered to work with South Carolina's prison boss to find a way to prevent mobile phones being used in prisons, but industry body the CTIA is calling on the FCC to get a court order preventing anyone from demonstrating the technology. Prison chief Jon Ozmint recently called for …

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Boffin

Sue the CTIA when prison cell phone use results in harm

The correct response is for guards to sue the CTIA next time a prison worker gets hurt and an illicit cell phone contributed to the prisoner's ability to do whatever bad they did.

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Ron
Heart

Jammer idiots

I doubt any carrier would actively participate in preventing calls from being completed on its network for any reason. Just for starters it goes against their mandate to provide universal, unrestricted 911 service, regardless of whether a phone is activated or not.

Dummy micro cell sites would be just as dangerous as jammers if they prevent calls from being completed. Any carrier would likely take a dim view of any malicious use of its exclusively licensed frequencies.

I just hope the transmitter antennas of the jammers are installed on the desks of the prison officials who advocate for them. Let them slow-roast their own skulls and give themselves microwave cataracts from the power output required to effectively keep all mobile phones from working on the premises in the various cellular bands.

I like incongruous icons.

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Bronze badge

It should be clear

Clearly, the law should be amended. I can think of no good reason to make things easier for criminals who bring cell phones illegally into prisons, or to make things harder for prison authorities to suppress activity which endangers both prison staff and the general public.

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Silver badge

Ohh forgot the URL

Unfortunately the website doesn't mention it anymore, but I know it's still beeing developed.

http://web.archive.org/web/20070702211831rn_2/www.gigahertz-solutions.de/AKTUELLES/AKTUELLES.HTM

In der Entwicklung: Handydetektor, der Handys auch im Standby-Modus orten kann! Das Gerät soll bis Sommer 2007 fertig sein und ist gedacht zur Überwachung handyfreier Zonen, z.B. in Schulen, Krankenhäusern, etc. . Naheres demnächst an dieser Stelle.

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Bronze badge

Possible solution

Just have signal locators all over the place. They light up and make sounds when a cell phone signal is nearby. Even just turned on cell phones emit signals to find the base station. In addition, put up "signal absorbers" (simple half wave stubbs will do) so the cell phones will need to transmit with more power.

Pretty easy solution if you ask me. No "jamming" needed.

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Anonymous Coward

Well

Why not just have local micro cells that forward the calls to the real phone network, whilst listening in and making a list of numbers that are called.

Or perhaps arresting the cell phone network CEOs for knowingly aiding and abetting a prisoner in the commission of a felony.

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CTIA

CTIA is just another self-serving lobbying organization. The US Gov't already has policy and equipment in-place to allow a complete shut-down of all cellphone networks at the whim of whomever holds the reigns. Lot's of folks advertising jammers on the 'net

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Gold badge

Jammer is unneccessary.

The law doesn't have to be ammended. Make one room on the way into the prison a farraday cage. Watch for (RF) noise from phones as people *leave* the farraday cage -- the phone will reacquire the cellular signal as the user leaves the farraday cage, and blast out RF as it re-registers itself with the phone network. Detect this and take the phone.

If these jammers could be PROPERLY deployed (they can maybe -- some movie theaters etc. will apparently install them on the sly, since assholes INSIST they "have" to leave their phone on because they're on call, rather than realizing "on call=don't go to the theater"...or they just leave it on because they're a big asshole) then there'd be no problem. But something the size of a prison? Any jammer is going to leak, and the prison SHOULD pay fines if their neighbors start having problems. Prisons are large, it'll need MANY low-powered jammers to be effective, a single higher-powered one would certainly leak too much (less of a problem if this is an isolated prison, but many are right in town...) The cell companies spent $billions on spectrum, and have been *required* to build out either based on % population covered or % terrain covered. Obviously, the FCC has to be strict, or this spectrum will become polluted and useless. Realize for UMTA/WCDMA and CDMA systems, they are interference-limited rather than having hard capacity like GSM systems, these jammers could lower the capacity of neighboring sites for a large area, requiring the cell cos to spend more money on additional sites that they wouldn't have to if their spectrum wasn't polluted.

"The correct response is for guards to sue the CTIA next time a prison worker gets hurt and an illicit cell phone contributed to the prisoner's ability to do whatever bad they did."

A) That's stupid, noone's going to plan shivving some guard via cell phone.

B) If a guard got hurt, probably the first instinct if they can't get to an alarm button is.... to pull out the cell phone and call for help. I seriously bet the guards have cells on them.

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Joke

Cell Phones!

LOL

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Coat

Faraday Cage

What if they don't take it with them? Or if they turn it off?

The picocell is the best idea yet- their phones will associate with it, allowing a rough identification of where they are as well as allowing 911 calls to be made. You'd also get the details of the handset, with the handshaking it does, allowing you to call it. Establish a link by calling it, then have guards walking about with mobe-detectors until they find the owner.

Still doesn't work if they turn it off, but works fine if they've left it with them.

Then set up the Faraday Cage system to make them think it's the Cage doing the detecting.

It's the rustling tinfoil one.

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Bronze badge

Henry Wertz

If a guard got hurt, probably the first instinct if they can't get to an alarm button is.... to pull out the cell phone and call for help. I seriously bet the guards have cells on them.

Um nope not allowed to have cell phones on them

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