So it costs the Government £70,000 to ask GCHQ to spy on people then?
The UK's Ministry of Justice is planning to spend up to £70,000 on finding out how prisoners like to use their illegal mobile phones in jail, after deciding that jamming the forbidden mobes would be "prohibitively expensive". In an advertisement to companies to bid on the research project, which is due to kick off this month, …
It's fairly obvious why that's the case though.
If mobile operators try to put up masts in residential areas the NIMBY lot complain about it being an eye-sore or that it'll give them cancer. I'd suggest you complain to your parish council since it's likely most of them doing the complaining.
I wouldn't be surprised if there are masts mounted on top of the prison buildings, it's not like the prisoners will be allowed to register any kind of complaint about it.
>Can imagine the frustration of someone smuggling a mobile into jail up their hoop
Not that frustrating these days - they're built into trainer heels, brushes, other electrical equipment etc..... One of the more interesting applications of 3D printing.......though in context of prisons, undetectable knives etc are probably more of a worry.
Prisons presumably use femtocells already, since all such calls are illegal no need for warrants - my guess is the £70K is going to someone who can actually explain what the inmates are saying.
@Yet Another Commentard
> That as a law abiding citizen I can't get a mobile signal in my own home, but they seem to be able to
> get one in Dartmoor prison.
Perhaps the cause of this is the 200m North Hessary Tor transmitter that is within spitting distance of HMP Dartmoor at Princetown?
" Perhaps the cause of this is the 200m North Hessary Tor transmitter that is within spitting distance of HMP Dartmoor at Princetown?
.... which transmits TV and radio only, and has bugger all to do with mobile comms!
"What's the betting the survey says that the phones are only ever used for checking on family welfare."
What do you use your illegal mobile phone for?
A) Checking on the hoes you are pimping.
B) Telling your crew to beat up the family of someone who pissed you off inside.
C) Checking with your family and talking to your pet dog.
Yea, who is going to answer anything but C.
search the cells etc more frequently and remove said devices. It can't be beyond the bods at GCHQ to come up with a portable scanner to help in the detection of the phones?
Then pass the phones to the police as I'm sure they'd be very interested in the numbers being called.
I can suggest a number of options that may cost around £70,000 to solve the problem rather than just look into it.
Install devices to detect mobile phone signals, wire them up to loudspeakers turned up to 11 with either a 5 second loop of the sound of vuvuzelas being blown at the South African World cup, or Christina Aguilera hitting a high ‘warble’ note (YAAAAAyaaaaYAAAAAohhhhOHHHHHohhhh), both can be played constantly for half an hour, supply the staff with ear defenders.
Pay a telemarketing company to spam call every prisoner with offers on holiday flights leaving that day.
Give all the prisoners mobiles on 3.
Line the roof and/or the walls of the cell block with metal to block and disrupt the signal.
Increase the budget of the prison staff to allow them to employee more people and carry out more searches.
So set up an IMSI catcher that downgrades all the connections to A5/0 and log away to your hearts content, throw in some voice print analysis and you should be able to make a nice list of who has what phone and what they are doing with it. It not like you even need an expensive one from Rhode & Schwartz, you could probably repurpose the femto cells the carriers sell to make the phone work in your house.
Or alternatively grep through the carriers logs for the phones that never change location from the prison and are only switched on sporadically then route a copy of all calls to and from those numbers to GCHQ, I mean whats the point in building all that lawfull intercept infrastructure if you not going to use it :)
As pointed out efficient mobile detectors are dirt cheap to make. You commission some from a supplier and turn the cells over when the alarm goes off.
Not sure with a femtocell you can force phones on it?
like the idea of the IMSI catcher and banning the phones.
It is actually against the rules to have a mobile in Prison isn't it?
It is illegal to have the phone in Prison.
However once you start intercepting the calls I expect there would be a queue of inmates a mile long waiting to take their case to the European court protesting a violation of their human rights. Just removing the phones is a far lower risk policy.
Actually for UMTS or other CDMA networks it's far from trivial to build one since they have very low transmit powers which additionally don't change regularly. GSM is simple to detect, you just look at the output power of a simple detector and once you find a set of repeating bursts at a certain burst frequency you know you have GSM.
GCHQ already has all the taxpayer funded mobile equipment to log the phone IDs and intercept. Make it a GCHQ junior training exercise to collect the info needed. Cost = near zero.
Although the reality is, the Govt does not have the heart (political will) to actually prevent usage.
Or: ALLOW personal mobe ownership (and the internet access that comes with it...) but advertise the fact that all mobes in range of the prison will be monitored via an agreement with the service providers. Hard luck for the privacy of people living next to prisons.
Although the reality is, the Govt does not have the heart (political will) to actually prevent usage. .... Nifty Posted Monday 6th January 2014 12:18 GMT
Nor the physical or metadatabase physical virtual reality command of control for Powerful Developments Forwards either, which has them seriously disadvantaged and rendered as garbage for history to rearrange into the semblance of a an Ab Fab Fabless Tale to Bounteous Treasures with Addictive Pleasures.
CodeXSSXXXXgsi.gov.co.uk is a Strange Office Space Just Full of Apps and Advanced Operations .... Progressive AIMissions ...... SMARTR Watchful Enterprise Ad Ventures with Advanced IntelAIgent Systems of Spooky IntelAIgent Design with Quantum Communication Deadlocks to Rearrange Times with the State to Give New Vital Reasons for Success with the Black Watch Virtual AdVenturing in Fields with Dark Web Presents and Uncertain Futures.
The per minute rate for prisoners phoning home legally is extortionate - especally when you're earning a tenner a week (if I recall correctly 50p + a minute and a lot more if home is overseas). So many of the mobile calls probably are to home and family.
Obviously prisoners' calls need to be controlled, but the present stupid phone policy (family breakdown is a major factor in reoffending and many prisoners are illiterate, so forgot letters) needs rethinking. Make calls home cheap\free and then you know any mobile call detected is for nefarious reasons and needs investigating.
And a femtocell or a tower should be pretty easy in those prisons (a fair few) which are out in the sticks. But I suspect the civil service has been quoted £100m by Capita to do this ...
I used to work in a prison btw.
Have an upvote for a sensible and compassionate suggestion. It appeals to my bleeding heart.
Side Rant: If prison is meant to turn people into better-functioning members of society, then why is there such glee in anything punitive we do to them? We've known for decades that rehabilitation works and that caging someone like an animal simply produces an animal.
It's surprisingly difficult to build a Faraday cage that can reliably block mobile phone signals. I discovered this while trying to test software that ran on hand-held computers and used GPRS.
My best effort involved a Marks & Spencers biscuit tin with a window cut in in to allow the stylus through, covered in 6mm chicken wire. Even that only weakened the signal.
We already know there are two main uses...
1. Staying in touch with families. It is cheaper in prison to hire an illegal phone than use the usuriously charged payphones on the wing landings. And more private too. A better phone deal with BT would cut this usage at a stroke.
2. Sending money out for illegal deals (such as drug purchases). In a prison, most drugs come in via the uniformed staff, but the money transfers have to happen via a different method. In the old days, you'd get friends or family on the out to give money to people in pubs for you. Today, it is much more online. Reduce the drugs going in, and you reduce the need for cross-wall cash flow.
What are the Injustice Ministry spending this money for, when all they had to do was read The Register's comments section to find out the answers to why, how, and everything else rolled into one?
And all that from the illustrious contributors who no doubt have intimate experience in these sorts of matters, not to mention years of experience conducting behavioural research and implementing complex technological solutions to social problems.
As Dr. Vitaly Klitschko is reputed to have said: "Chess is like boxing, except that in chess nobody considers himself an expert but everyone plays, while in boxing everyone is an expert but nobody steps into the ring and fights."
Technology is a bit like boxing, isn't it? :-)
Some of us have extensive hands-on experience of the actual problems in prisons.
And we have watched for years as the government ignores the obvious, and ignores the expert testimony in order to pay for another study that will be ignored.
Cheers for sticking up with the man, but it's not much help long term.
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