back to article Top cop: Strap Wi-Fi jammers to teen web crims as punishment

The president of top cops’ trade union the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) has suggested that teens convicted of computer-based crimes should be fitted with ankle-mounted Wi-Fi jammers. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph over the weekend, Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas said: “If you have got a 16-year-old who has …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the trend to criminalise the majority of the UK population it is obviously best to start moulding them when they are young.

    1. tr1ck5t3r

      Like strapping a 2.4Ghz microwave transmitter wont be setting the Police up for some sort of class action on health grounds?

    2. Oh Homer
      Paris Hilton

      I wonder...

      How will a WiFi jammer magically stop the offending kiddies from connecting over ethernet?

      Will this magic jammer also block the cellular radio, thus preventing not only mobile data transmission but also voice calls (including emergency calls)?

      How will Plod prevent these jammers from interfering with innocent bystanders' communications equipment?

      Shouldn't making laws, regarding concepts you are utterly clueless about, be a crime punishable by public flogging?

      Yes, I'm being rhetorical.

      1. enormous c word

        Re: I wonder...

        ... how long it will take naughty kids from discovering how to wrap the WIFI jammer with tinfoil to jam the jammer - perhaps someone more knowledgable than me about such things could confirm if that would work...

        1. DanDanDan

          Re: I wonder...

          Assuming 2.4 GHz, for Aluminium, you're looking at 1.7 um as the skin depth. Generally a good idea to over-engineer, so 10 times the skin effect should attenuate the signal sufficiently. 17 um of Aluminium. The thinnest grade of aluminium is about 6 um which would probably work, but grab some heavy duty stuff and you're laughing. Or just use multiple wraps. In summary, yes, aluminium foil would work just fine.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Why would this happen-

    -when putting phone jammers inside prisons to stop smuggling etc is seen as 'impractical'?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would this happen-

      That sounds much better. Strap mobile phone jammers to criminals in prison. Problem solved.

      Far better than giving kids a new tool to go and harrass others with. I mean, if I were a kid with my own personal wifi-free zone I'd have been hanging around outside companies who had annoyed me so their office wifi cut out. Less reputable scrotes might scope out homes with wifi cctv.

      1. Paul Woodhouse

        Re: Why would this happen-

        PMSL... could have lots of shits and giggles with a gizmo like that...

      2. Craig 2

        Re: Why would this happen-

        "Far better than giving kids a new tool to go and harrass others with."

        Didn't have to scroll far to see this comment, which was my exact first thought. From the petty "annoy the local cafe/bar etc" to the "mobile jammer for hire, reasonable hourly rates"

      3. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Why would this happen-

        > Far better than giving kids a new tool to go and harrass others with.

        Look it has a few minor challenges but at least the device can't be disabled with a few layers of aluminium foil....

    2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Why would this happen-

      ... perhaps it would be more practical to immerse all their accessible devices with jam ... strawberry would be good for a first offence ... they'll eventually lick it off then it's end of sentence.

      The nastier the condiment the worse the punishment - pineapple jam, lemon and lime marmalade, fluorescent lemon curd, really bitter thick-cut marmalade, rowan jelly ... perhaps finishing with habanero jelly ...

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Why would this happen-

        " lemon and lime marmalade, fluorescent lemon curd, really bitter thick-cut marmalade, rowan jelly"... I like all of these and make most of them. I'm up for this as a "punishment" for me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why would this happen-

          Where's Liam Fox in all this?

      2. MrXavia

        Re: Why would this happen-

        Sounds like fun.. apart from the pinapple jam, I enjoy all those jams.

        Habanero jelly sounds very nice!

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Why would this happen-

          There's a local business round our way that's called 'the chilli jam man'. Mull that over with some toast to tune of 2 million + on the scovillie scale.

          (Three peaks is still the best they do but I'm saving 'the reaper' for the mother in law)

          1. Spender

            Re: Why would this happen-

            Just finished a jar of "The Reaper". It's the truly most bastard jam you ever tasted.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Why would this happen-

        vegimite for terrorist offences

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Why would this happen-

          And if they LIKE Vegemite?

          1. 's water music Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Why would this happen-

            And if they LIKE Vegemite?

            That's how you know you were right about them

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why would this happen-

          Ahem:

          Marmite if you don't mind. Vegemite is a poor substitute.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Why would this happen-

            Marmite if you don't mind. Vegemite is a poor substitute.

            It's a punishment... not a reward. Unless I mis-understood about which one is nasty.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why would this happen-

          Did someone as the president of the PSA "Do you speaka my language?"

      4. Vic

        Re: Why would this happen-

        The nastier the condiment the worse the punishment - pineapple jam, lemon and lime marmalade, fluorescent lemon curd, really bitter thick-cut marmalade, rowan jelly ... perhaps finishing with habanero jelly

        I don't know what rowan jelly tastes like - but I like all the others in that list...

        Vic.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Why would this happen-

          "...Rowan Jelly..."

          Rowan Jelly is quite bitter and is an ideal compliment for meat or game. It's excellent on roast lamb for instance. Imagine a more sour and bitter version of redcurrant jelly and you won't be far off. It's easy to make and rowan trees tend to grow in abundance in public parks, etc. where the fruit is easy to gather. Don't eat the raw fruit, though.

      5. funkenstein

        Re: Why would this happen-

        | Habanero jelly

        Wait, this is a thing?!"!?!?

        I'm off to the shops to commit a crime so the cops have to give me some of that sweet, hot jelly!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would this happen-

      "when putting phone jammers inside prisons to stop smuggling etc is seen as 'impractical'?"

      I don't understand this. It is reported that mobile phones are a massive problem in prisons - crims can arrange things, organise drug dropoffs and contact someone to drone deliver the latest illegal legal hig. And yet the technology, such as detecting wifi or phone signals is readily available and easy to use.

      You don't need to jam them just put a few detectors on each level of a block and you can triangulate the position of a phone every time it is used.

    4. Cashpot

      Re: Why would this happen-

      Trouble is they tried this at a local prison and half the neighbouring streets were also blocked! It took a visit from OFCOM to explain that the transmissions out of prison property were illegal on many counts! The blocking was stopped several WEEKS later. The suggestion to block WiFi is just the sort of thing that non-technical people spout out when trying to make a name for themselves. Can you imagine the ovation a speech like this would get at the next Tory conference? Why not put some modulation on the jammer so that plod can follow where the miscreants go? Er by the way, what about 5GHz, is that blocked too?

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "top cops’ trade union the Police Superintendents’ Association"

    I think you're confusing them with ACPO.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Not for a while now

      Surely you're confusing ACPO with the National Police Chiefs' Council?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Top Cops

      hmm why do the Top Cops get a different trade union to the grunt?

      more of a backscratching club I'll wager. "I say Basil , Cyrils retiring from his shire next month, Let me know if you'd like the gig and I'll put a word in with Tezza"

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Top Cops

        It's not a union, there are lots of laws about unions.

        It's a privately held corporation that the government happens to listen to.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think of the chiildren!

    Well I see loads of benefits:

    1: Tinfoil sales increase massively

    2. UK high street saved from Brexit doom by profits from resurgent sales of overpriced gold plated Ethernet cables

    3. School children encouraged to study great scientists, especially Faraday.

    4. Put young offenders to productive use by paying them to sit in theatres and block annoying mobile phone interruptions.

    5. Great new excuse to cut short unwanted phone calls - 'got to go - I'm just walking past Nandos'

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Think of the chiildren!

      number five lifted the OP from hilarious to legendary

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm

    No officer, I haven't been able to get any WiFi at all and I'm serving my sentence and learning my lesson. This? Oh this is just a a lead I use to connect my laptop to my router so that I can always find both.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Also, phone data service != WiFi. That's my mobile sorted.

      If I want, I can tether to my phone via Bluetooth. If it's a blanket white noise jammer, that won't work either. But if it's protocol-based, I'm golden.

      More expensive, yeah. So?

      Think I'll hang out in Starbucks and sip coffee for a few hours. Read a book.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wired connection

    What if they plug one end of an ethernet cable into the router and the other into their laptop?

    (Rats... ninja'd by a funnier AC).

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Wired connection

      Quiet! Don't let them know we have other ways of getting online... most politicians can't remember a time without Wireless... Not because their young, but because it seems a requirement of being a politician is ignorance of the world...

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Wired connection

        "Not because their young,"

        Not because their young did what?

        1. The Indomitable Gall

          Re: Wired connection

          I think he meant "not because of their young", because that's who they generally ask for computer support.

      2. MSmith

        Re: Wired connection

        Oh, that is why they wanted to strap a wifi (and cellphone?) jammer on them? I assumed the point was to punish them by making them a social pariah. None of their peers would go within 50 feet of them if it would keep them from texting, checking tweets, and Instagram.

        1. tiggertaebo
          Trollface

          Re: Wired connection

          Isn't the whole point of those things that you DON'T have to be within 50 feet of your peers?

  7. B0rg
    Facepalm

    *Thud* hahaHahahahaHahaha

    I think I just heard Kevin Mitnick fall off his chair and roll around on the floor laughing his ass off.

    Seriously though, can we fit Inspector Knacker with a stupidity jammer? At least that way he wouldn’t be breaching the wireless telegraphy act and the only collateral damage would be jamming other peoples’ weapons-grade moronic comments!

  8. Lotaresco

    Every so often...

    Someone in authority makes a statement about technology that is laugh out loud funny. This is one example, but I can recall a similar gaffe from a few years ago when the iPod was the scary techno-toy of the month for the MoD.

    UK military bans iPods - some places

    Which caused an MoD spokesperson to make a ludicrous claim.

    "With USB devices, if you plug it straight into the computer you can bypass passwords and get right on the system," RAF Wing Commander Peter D'Ardenne told Reuters."

    I wish my iPod would do that.

    Yes, there are valid reasons for stopping people bringing USB devices into particular environments but using an iPod to bypass passwords isn't top of the list of reasons to ban the use of USB devices.

    1. Ogi

      Re: Every so often...

      "With USB devices, if you plug it straight into the computer you can bypass passwords and get right on the system," RAF Wing Commander Peter D'Ardenne told Reuters."

      I wish my iPod would do that.

      ---

      Back in the day of firewire ipods (early 2000's) this was possible. Firewire allowed RDMA, so a firewire ipod with the correct firmware could be plugged into a machine, and override the security allowing you to unlock machines just by plugging in said ipod.

      I was at the talk back then, and I still have the talk + ipod firmware kicking around. For testing I tried on my (then windows XP) machine, and it worked a treat.

      The firmware, was actually a fully loaded Linux OS on the ipod, which would then path the host machines RAM to bypass security features.

      Firewire is no longer mainstream, and its replacement bus type system (thunderbolt) has a IOMMU to prevent these attacks from occurring.

      The guy didn't get it completely right as he said USB (were there even USB ipod back then? I thought they were all firewire), and USB can't do that, but there was some truth to the idea of getting hacked by an ipod.

      EDIT: Can't find the original talk right now (it has been 10 years at least), but here is a 2008 article about it: http://www.pcworld.com/article/143236/article.html

      EDIT2: Found the slides from the 2006 talk: http://www.security-assessment.com/files/presentations/ab_firewire_rux2k6-final.pdf

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Every so often...

        The old firewire RDMA trick, much enjoyed by people doing really low-level debugging.

        You can still do it over thunderbolt, though. That supports RDMA.

      2. Lotaresco

        Re: Every so often...

        "The guy didn't get it completely right as he said USB"

        I would say he got it wrong because he said USB.

        If he'd said that there are attacks that can be run from portable media devices and storage (keeping quiet about the type of interface) then if would true. But the specific example he chose to give is wrong and doesn't work. It's an example of someone being at a briefing and not understanding it, or alternatively it's an example of a journalist misquoting the explanation that they were given.

        My heartfelt thanks for the downvote to whoever couldn't be bothered to think about what I had said.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Every so often...

      "With USB devices, if you plug it straight into the computer you can bypass passwords and get right on the system," RAF Wing Commander Peter D'Ardenne told Reuters."

      Yes, there are valid reasons for stopping people bringing USB devices into particular environments but using an iPod to bypass passwords isn't top of the list of reasons to ban the use of USB devices.

      Erm, Stuxnet? Wasn't that spread by dropping infected USB devices outside the target? And Brontic(IIRC, could be a different nasty), and lots of other bits of malware. Put them into a windows machine, malware loaded before AV even gets a chance to do something about it. Doesn't matter if autorun is on or off. (MS may've fixed this but I doubt it!)

      IIRC there is something like a driver part of some USB sticks which could be infected, again bypassing any security and loading your nasty to a nice low level. ICBW, been a while since I had to deal with that. But yes, USB devices have been used to infect machines without user interaction.

      1. Lotaresco

        Re: Every so often...

        "IIRC there is something like a driver part of some USB sticks which could be infected, again bypassing any security and loading your nasty to a nice low level."

        What you are talking about, I think, is BadUSB. This has been used for a number of different attack types, most of which are trivial to stop. They rely, as the distribution of Stuxnet did, as much on spear phishing as on a technical exploit.

        If you want to play with this yourself you can get a rubber ducky which comes with a nice range of tools and GitHub distributed scripts to do all sorts of things. However it's also trivially easy to defeat.

        At the time that the MoD spokesman was trying to scare people about the iPod these exploits didn't exist, BadUSB came along about five years later.

        The linked article should give you some ideas about how these things work and what people have done with them. However an iPod isn't the vector since you need to reprogram the firmware on the USB device to make this work.

    3. Truckle The Uncivil

      Re: Every so often...

      You are assuming that there was no other circuitry in there. Plugging in an iPod - not likely to be harmful (but even then, tampered mounting firmware?). Because something looks like an iPod does not mean that it is one. That something may not be what it seems is _very_ basic security and spycraft.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith

        Re: Every so often...

        The old guy was right though - you can use the iPod as a mass storage device and siphon out gigabytes of data without issue. It would take not long to re-jig the firmware (indeed, entirely replace the hardware and firmware inside that sleek case) on an old iPod so that it would do whatever you wanted to the target machine. Also, Nation State Actors can easily reflash your iPod so that you're not even aware you are stealing the data until someone cuffs you. Finally, for those idiots as yet unconvinced, I can swap out your iPod cable for one with a built-in wifi hotspot. Explain that to security when they find it!

        Please, when a Secret Squirrel's friend accidentally tells you something a Secret Squirrel told him, don't mock the guy, accept that he's likely been told this by someone who has done it. Because that's what the "higher ups" at the MOD and other places see, often long before us.

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Does this top cop realise the battery life of a typical wifi hotspot without having jamming technology built in? It'd need a rucksack to carry the batteries which would either a. get the kids fit or b. keep the kids at home, sitting a a couch watching Jeremy Kyle whilst eating pizzas. I know what option most British kids would go for !!!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The battery pack would also be attached to the ankle

      For safety, in this post-Samsung world, the battery would be encased in a spherical protective enclosure made of iron Power connection would be via a short metal chain

  10. elf25s

    ok so if this goes through lets say it does how will it work exactly?

    limited range of 1 meter or more? what about people who are going to be affected by this person in say a busy street? what about potential problems with emergency services? will cell signals be excluded? etc etc there is more but hey i am tired...

    as i see it kid can go to any public library at least here across the pond from you brits and still have access to the net and his or her scripkiddie tools on a portable memory device...

    also state side FCC has some of the most stringen codes regarding signal jamming devices

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Given how tall some kids are these days, if you strap the jammer to their ankle then it would need at least 3 metres range in case they hold their connected device above their heads.

  11. Haku

    I don't know wether to laugh or cry.

    The only thing I know at this point is the need for a triple facepalm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't know wether to laugh or cry.

      Option 3: consult a spellchecker or online dictionary. (Whether you will is an entirely different question.)

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I don't know wether to laugh or cry.

        Option 3: consult a spellchecker or online dictionary. (Whether you will is an entirely different question.)

        Fail 1 : Haku was quoting the original spelling verbatim, so in that sense spelt it correctly.

        Fail2 : My spell checker says that "spellchecker" is wrong.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: I don't know wether to laugh or cry.

          "My spell checker says that "spellchecker" is wrong."

          Does it accept "spool chucker"?

  12. Velv Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Clearly the only way to solve the crime problem is to make every crime a capital crime. You don't get repeat offenders.

    (we need a proper sarcasm icon!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Give Theresa time - she probably has a framed picture of Erdoğan on her wall. He seems keen to emulate the caliph of Istanbul who used to walk the streets - and have people executed on the spot if they were doing something he disapproved of - like smoking.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Coat

      echo $crime | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]

      Sorted.

      1. Vic

        echo $crime | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]

        That's terrible...

        Vic.

  13. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    It should be considered...

    So the cop accepts it can't work but still thinks it should be considered. Hmmm....

    I've got an even better idea. As any fule kno, 16-year-olds, hackers or not, are unable to get up before mid-day. So we just change their watches (okay, clock on their phones) so they always show 8am and they'll never wake up. Or even better, stop the sun in the sky just after sunrise.

    Actually it would be fun to have a working jammer - kids all over the place sitting in Starbucks, sipping a latte and reading a book - and causing some very angry customers.

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: It should be considered...

      "As any fule kno"

      +1 for the Molesworth reference!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It should be considered...

      "I've got an even better idea. As any fule kno, 16-year-olds, hackers or not, are unable to get up before mid-day."

      Most 16-year-olds, like it or not, BETTER be able to get up by 7 at the latest, since most high schools (and 16-year-olds are high school age last I checked, on either side of the water) start classes around 8AM. Otherwise, the parents will be getting some unwanted attention in the form of notice letters or, at the worst, visits from Child Protective Services or the like.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: It should be considered...

        I doubt you will find any UK schools that start up before 8.30am

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: It should be considered...

        7 am? Wow, that would have been nice... I had to get up at 5:30!

        1. tim 13

          Re: It should be considered...

          and walk 10 miles across the moors in my shoes made from newspaper

  14. James 51 Silver badge

    More and more medical devices use wi-fi. Need to change old saying to havoc ensued.

  15. Julian Bond

    Driving with a phone

    This idea clearly has legs and should be extended. For instance people convicted of using a mobile phone while driving should have to have a high powered mobile phone jammer attached to their car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Driving with a phone

      "For instance people convicted of using a mobile phone while driving should have to have a high powered mobile phone jammer attached to their car."

      better idea - if someone is convicted of using a mobile phone while driving, let's attach a high powered car to their (one and only legally permitted) mobile phone. More likely to stop it happening again.

      1. d3vy

        Re: Driving with a phone

        "For instance people convicted of using a mobile phone while driving should have to have a high powered mobile phone jammer attached to their car."

        I'd be in favor of attaching the front bumper of the car to the rear bumper of the car via some sort of crushing device.

        You can use your phone but every time we catch you, you'll need to buy a new car.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Driving with a phone

      Yep, not a good idea UNLESS, you can absolutely ensure that the jammer does not cause interference OUTSIDE the car.

      Otherwise you can expect the likes of the ACMA/FCC/Ofcom/whoever to be hunting you down.

  16. Lusty
    Paris Hilton

    Thumbs

    OK, so the wifi is impractical but I like his thinking. Perhaps we could just super glue their thumbs down instead? Mobile access would be maddening without thumbs for a week :)

    1. Purple-Stater

      Re: Thumbs

      Handcuff-Mittens!

      1. Kevin Reilly

        Re: Thumbs

        Boxing gloves? Could also have ahem side effects.

        1. Doctor Evil

          Re: Thumbs

          "Boxing gloves? Could also have ahem side effects."

          Sexually-frustrated teenagers?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thumbs

      You could operate a touchscreen with your nose if necessity demanded it of you.

      Thumbs, or even hands, are no requirement to use a phone, although they do make ease of use a lot better.

  17. Xamol

    Stupid on so many levels

    Practical: No - How do you make said teen return to base for a battery charge every few hours?

    Enforceable: No - That nice ankle bracelet would look great with a tinfoil wrapper.

    Unintended (and yet predicable to anyone with a brain) consequences: Yes - Pissed off, innocent people near a mobile wifi blackspot.

    Actual punishment/deterrent for said teen: No - Not unless you ban 3/4G data plans and tin foil as well.

    Oh, so many other reasons why this is a stupid idea...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid on so many levels

      Counters:

      Practical - This can enforce curfews since the base station can be pinged. Further restrict their freedom.

      Enforceable - Make it tamper-resistant. Also make it do periodic pings on an unjammed frequency so it can't be tinfoiled without it being detected.

      Unintended consequences - As soon as the people realize there's a delinquent with a not-spot in their midst, they'll probably drive him off tout suite.

      Actual punishment/deterrent for said teen - Jamming other sources of Internet can be arranged, and keepers of public Internet stations can be trained to look for the anklets (which will likely be too fat to cover with a trouser leg; if they go to extreme lengths like bell bottoms, they can be queried).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stupid on so many levels

        Actual punishment/deterrent for said teen - Jamming other sources of Internet can be arranged,

        Yeah, like you're going to induce severe interference into a length of CAT5e Ethernet cable… or better yet, optic fibre.

        Okay, the latter is a contrived example which is unlikely to be the norm, but you'd need a bloody powerful emitter to knock out an Ethernet cable connection and that said emission will likely be strong enough to cause HF interference for many hundreds of meters and require a battery pack that would have Elon Musk drooling.

        It'll also do absolutely nothing for light-based communications, which was a thing when 802.11 was first conceived (using infrared) and is coming back into vogue with Visible Light Communications.

        The jammer is down on the teenager's ankle, the target device is likely in their hands: all that is needed is a simple pair of WiFi modules with an alternate wireless link between them: one is kept in very close proximity to the target device (effectively jamming the jammer), the other is placed where needed.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enforced conscription as a punishment - might knock a bit of sense into some of them too.

    1. The_Idiot

      To paraphrase...

      ... 'Yes Minister', because I can't remember the precise quote, which would you rather have? A bunch of bored, anti-establishment script kiddies running round with access to computers, or a bunch of bored, anti-establishment script kiddies _with_combat and firearms_training_ running round?

      Besides - a modern, high-tech, highly skilled army wouldn't bloody want them (again, my thanks to 'Yes Minister')!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To paraphrase...

        I wouldnt want them in the armed forces either and why would you give them firearms training?

        They would be there to learn some basic discipline and respect which they obviously didn't get from their parents.

        So do you want a bunch of bored, anti-establishment script kiddies running round with access to computers or a bunch of slightly disciplined and more respectful kiddies who know what is coming next time they step over the line?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To paraphrase...

          And if it makes them MORE defiant instead? Some teens simply hate The Man for being The Man.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To paraphrase...

          Well, I'm going anon on this for reasons that shall become apparent.

          I'm from a relatively large family, there's

          * me,

          * one full sister

          * three half brothers

          * one half sister

          * two step sisters.

          Now my full sister and myself were raised in a manner that I would consider normal (we were disciplined and taught right from wrong etc) we are both working, in stable relationships, Home owners and are financially independent of the rest of the family. I've never had any issue with the police and to the best of my knowledge neither has my sister.

          My step sisters were treated a bit more softly (they are younger) they are through and through millenials requiring a lot of parental help even now in their 20s).

          Now onto the half brothers & sister (All still live at home)

          One brother is still school age, but refuses to go, has been in trouble with the police for drug offences etc.

          One is is at college and seems to be doing his own thing, general teenage behaviour nothing odd.

          The sister has left college once, didnt want a job (didnt last more than 2 days in the jobs she found) and is now back at college - other than that, fairly normal - I just think she expects to fall into the perfect job straight away!

          The third brother is the main focus of this rant:

          * He is in court soon for police assault, for the second time.

          * He has also been arrested on several occasions for assaulting various members of the family (Mainly younger siblings)

          * He has been in trouble for drug offences (Possession), Growing his own weed

          * He has been taken to hospital at least twice that I know of for ODing on pills.

          * He has also had his ear bitten off in a fight that he was "trying to break up" that he *definitely didn't start* until witnesses pointed out that shouting "Are you talking to my girlfriend" and headbutting someone is considered to be starting a fight - He tried to get compensation from that.

          * He has on several occasions trashed our parents home (ripping plasterboard walls down, breaking radiators etc.)

          * He is basically (in my opinion) a complete cock. We don't speak.

          ----------------------------------------------------------

          If you've read this far you're probably wondering what my point is, to be honest I had to remind myself a few times.. I'm not just venting some frustrations that I should really be telling to Jeremy Kyle.. there *is* a point.

          The above is in response to this gem :

          "They would be there to learn some basic discipline and respect which they obviously didn't get from their parents."

          There are 8 of us, pretty much the same upbringing *VERY* different outcomes, so to say that they (the offending teens in the article) obviously were not taught discipline and respect by their parents is utter shite, I don't doubt that some people do end up going the wrong way because of parental influences (or lack of) I doubt that these kids will be the ones commuting computer crimes.

          Finally with regards to the suggestion that national service would help straighten these kids out, I don't think that will work... guess which one of my siblings joined the army at 15 and spent a year at the army foundation college in Harrogate doing the very thing that you suggest will help instill discipline? (Ill give you a clue - They stitched his ear back on but he never did get that compo)

          TLDR;

          My brother went through the AFC and did the army training that you suggest will help and he is a massive cock who will likely be in prison soon for assaulting various people so military service is not the answer.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          Re: To paraphrase...

          They would be there to learn some basic discipline and respect which they obviously didn't get from their parents.

          Ohh yes, because it's OBVIOUSLY the parent's fault. Like how Asperger's Syndrome was once "bad parenting".

          Please leave the 1950s thinking back in 1950.

      2. billse10

        Re: To paraphrase...

        The Grand Design, Yes Prime Minister - series one, episode one - starts the beginning of the story, including a part about quarter of a million football hooligans peeling potatoes in Aldershot? The Ministerial Broadcast (YPM episode 2, i think) probably includes the quote, there's certainly a part where another Perm Sec (from Employment?) talks about releasing an army of trained killers onto the streets ...

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      "

      Enforced conscription as a punishment - might knock a bit of sense into some of them too.

      "

      That would certainly work. They would be magically transformed into hero-soldiers. Off course, they would still steal, assault, rape and pillage to an even greater extent, but the DM would start a campaign demanding that they must not be prosecuted ...

    3. d3vy

      "Enforced conscription as a punishment - might knock a bit of sense into some of them too."

      Yeah.. Give them guns. Fucking brilliant idea.

      1. Clockworkseer

        Agreed that that would be a... bad idea. Lets take someone who already dislikes authority, and punish them by forcing them to have combat and weapon training and put them through hardships. You either end up with a bad soldier who really doesn't want to be there (which messes with discipline and morale and could get people killed) or someone who gets washed back out of the military for the aforementioned reasons, and now is walking around in public with weapons training, and now resents you for putting them through it.

        There's no possible way that could go wrong.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Point out that if they wash out or defy their instructors, that could be considered violation of their probation or whatever, which means they get sent to juvi or even (if serious enough or old enough) to adult prison. If they're STILL that defiant, that may be a sign of incorrigibility if not outright sociopathy: meaning they're already beyond help.

    4. Long John Baldrick

      Enforced conscription - perhaps triremes?

      Brings back some of the old navy practices. Of course, they will have to be longer to accomadate...

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The law, however, is a very blunt instrument, and something other than arrests followed by months of intentionally stress-inducing faff factor, using the process as the punishment, followed by a symbolic suspended prison sentence, is needed in order to deal with day-to-day smartphone "crimes" committed by under-18s."

    It may be a blunt instrument, but it's really all you got, and for an age group notorious for rebellion, sometimes the only practical solution is to put the fear of The Man into them. Perhaps not this way, but SOME way should be found to make it abundantly clear that their behavior is not desired in modern society.

  21. chivo243 Silver badge

    C'mon how stupid can ya get

    which kid wouldn't figure out that putting his foot in a bucket of water would solve the issue?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: C'mon how stupid can ya get

      But if it phones home, the police will get wind of this pretty quickly, much like how you usually can't remove or otherwise disable other kinds of "prison" anklets without them noticing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: C'mon how stupid can ya get

        Here's the irony. A wifi/cellular jammer means the signal just drops. Crim is in house with ankle bracelet, turn on easily available wifi/cellular jammer. Leave house. Authorities none the wiser as the last position reported was at home.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: C'mon how stupid can ya get

        But if it phones home, the police will get wind of this pretty quickly, much like how you usually can't remove or otherwise disable other kinds of "prison" anklets without them noticing.

        Yup, and 3 or 4 days later, when the cops can be arsed actually looking at it, his feet will be well dry and he'll innocently say "Oh that was probably when I was in the bath"...

        Besides.. All they'd have to do is sit at a table with the right type of metallic top, or a sheet of tinfoil under the top.. The separation between ankle and device would let the WiFi get through while letting the ankle bracelet still talk to base.

        (Ok, good in theory, no idea how it'd work in practice...)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: C'mon how stupid can ya get

      You think existing tags might fail in the same way too? Or maybe they thought of that. Baths, showers etc, or are tagged crimms expected to not wash?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a sec, there's another possible use case....

    For stopping "hackers", yes it's an idiotic and naive ...but for those general anti social little b**tards who have criminal tendencies and are glued to their smartphones all day like zombies on Prozac who have no technical skills and "can't live without them" it's not an idea that should be dismissed? It might teach them a lesson where they can't use their phone which would be unbearable for most of them and they might not hang out with their moron friends who would have problems using their smartphones anywhere near them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hang on a sec, there's another possible use case....

      What if it backfires, though, and makes them MORE desperate? Would you rather they talk over their phones or gather in person in more unsavory places like drug houses?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think everyone here is right on this, a wifi blocking jammer bracelet is just sheer stupidity. What he should have said is a network blocking jammer to block any attempt to obtain or set an I.P. address.

    This is the problem, some people don't think before they speak sometimes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or type… as an IP address on a device in the hands of a teenager of the is not needed to send/receive data.

      It just needs connection to a device that does.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stephen Fry?... that you?

  24. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I love the irony of the section in which the author discusses what should be done to the people suggesting this sort of nonsense.

  25. E 2

    Solution obvious

    Strap teenage computer crims to cell phone towers. Sort of a modern stockade. Then brand them on the forehead.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shariah Law

    This is clearly a high tech solution looking for a problem. The straightforward fix is to remove the phone from the teenager. At the wrist. By happy coincidence this is also the punishment for stealing a loaf of bread (somewhere).

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Shariah Law

      Wouldn't work. They'd just go 'hands free'

    2. d3vy

      Re: Shariah Law

      Ive figured it out... you work for amazon and you're trying to increase sales of the echo...

  27. David Roberts Silver badge

    Stupid on so many levels

    The ones suggesting a "ping back" probably haven't thought it through either.

    How do you tell the difference between a tinfoil wrap and someone going into a basement?

    What would you be pinging anyway? The only obvious universal network is the mobile phone network, so you can't jam that and use it as well. Although the proposal was to jam WiFi anyway, but that has been comprehensively rubbished already. You could jam the mobile network for 2-3 metres around and just unjam long enough to ping. Nope, that has already been rubbished.

    I suspect that the attraction is of minimum effort. Attach an ankle bracelet, add a bit of magic techno fairy dust (obviously an ideas guy who lets others worry about the trivial details) and there you go. Problem solved.

    Reality is that computer access is so freely available with and without the use of WiFi and mobile phones that it is virtually impossible to prevent anyone with freedom of movement from accessing the Internet. There would have to be curfews, Internet-free houses and constant policing using a lot of manpower. Constant supervision of the journey to and from school or work. Come to that, how do you study or work these days without access to a computer?

    Hmmmmm........how about a recording device which.......no, doesn't work for wired connections......

    I think my next venture may be the Tinfoil Palace. Basement coffee bar and Internet Cafe with shiny reflective walls. Can you say Faraday Cage, children?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid on so many levels

      Use a low-frequency, low-data-rate frequency, say below 1GHz. Such frequencies DO exist as EPIRBs and the like don't use the same frequencies. And if you use a low enough frequency, it can probably work in a basement, too. As noted, just check how OTHER anklet systems work. They've already been through the tamper-resistant, basement-capable wringer.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Stupid on so many levels

        As noted, just check how OTHER anklet systems work. They've already been through the tamper-resistant, basement-capable wringer.

        At best standard cellphone networks, so notoriously unreliable that the GPS ones can have people hundreds of metres from where they're said to be, and the home devices (for those on curfew or house arrest) so often don't give a reliable signal that the cops can take hours to respond even when those monitoring these people tell the cops to urgently go to the house and check the person is there, at least as per NZ media reports. As to tamper-resistant, well, I won't go much into that but we did have someone show, on live TV, just how quickly and easily they could be defeated. Wet paper would last longer than those things against household scissors (TV3's current-affairs type program named "Story", some time during 2016 IIRC, probably locatable via a quick search on Google or TV3.co.nz)

        1. d3vy

          Re: Stupid on so many levels

          "Wet paper would last longer than those things against household scissors"

          Shirley that tampering would be evident at the end of the punishment? In that case the conversation goes a little like :

          Police : "This anklets strap has been cut off"

          Judge: "You have shown that you cannot be trusted to accept the prescribed punishment, 3 months in prison for you."

          Same as they do with the GPS ones that restrict what areas of towns and cities people can access.

          The tampering would need to be reversible to be of any use.

  28. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Have a downvote. Certain courts in the US were giving young men the option of joining the military or jail back in the Vietnam era. It didn't work out well for the military or for those who ran into these lads after their military time was up. True, there were more than a few who straightened up and flew right. But overall... it didn't work out. The military currently does not accept anyone who's been convicted of a crime.

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      I thought the US military were quite fussy in the Vietnam era too... citation: Alice's Restaurant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m57gzA2JCcM

      1. Truckle The Uncivil

        Upvote for the citation

  29. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Go

    Do try to look beyond the headline...

    "...The intention with this example is not to champion a particular technology or solution, but to start a debate that stimulates ideas and to have a discussion about what works."

    So his example falls down at the first hurdle. Big deal. He's asking the public for ideas, not drafting fully-formed legislation.

    1. d3vy

      Re: Do try to look beyond the headline...

      I am reminded of a mitchell and webb sketch.

      Have you tried... killing the poor?

      I'm not saying that we should do it.... but lets put it in the computer and see what the numbers look like.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really??

    Great idea, if WiFi was the only way to get to the Internet. That WiFi jammer won't help with a computer connected to a router, via a network cable.

  31. Bolli

    Police need to start with body cameras for themselves not just armed police if they are starting to embrace technology ,

    No Internet content sentences have been passed previously for paedophiles ,I don't know how exactly they are implemented,

    Jus sayin

    1. d3vy

      Its not a technological measure... more of a "You cant use the internet, if we catch you doing so, youre fucked"

      Same as alot of things like temporary bans from areas etc... "Leave the city centre and dont come back fro 24 hours".. if they spot you in the centre later that day you are going to spend the next 24 hours in a cell.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But some people aren't right in the head and would see any sentence of the sort as either too much to take or otherwise not worth obeying and will assume "dead man walking" mode: meaning they'll keep doing it, trying their damnedest to avoid being busted, but if they DO get busted, let's just say they won't be likely to be alive to go to prison.

  32. Milton Silver badge

    Staggering ignorance of basic technoligy

    We should be shocked that someone in a responsible position talks such utter drivel ... but then, look at the comments by law enforcement and politicians, on both sides of the Atlantic, about "good guys' backdoors" in encryption: these are decision makers who refuse to understand even basic technical and mathematical concepts. They seem almost to enjoy broadcasting their ignorance and stupidity.

    1. tim 13
      Headmaster

      Re: Staggering ignorance of basic technoligy

      Just going to use the icon.

  33. StevieB
    Childcatcher

    Just wondering....

    Remember a while back, we were going to have personal networks connected by high frequency electric fields conducted through our skin.

    Is there any way this could be adapted to make using a capacitive touch screen difficult?

    Might do wonders for the proper desktop PC market and resurrect Blackberry as a "bonus".

    1. d3vy

      Re: Just wondering....

      Im guessing thats a joke...

      If not Ill just point out that you can buy a stylus for a capacitive touch screen for 99p (pack of three) on eBay.

      1. StevieB
        Coat

        Re: Just wondering....

        Well, it may be, but I don't think that's the reason.

        All the styli I've seen are metal with a conductive rubber tip and serve just to extend your body to a more pointy maneuverable shape.

        Use your head, it might work!

        NB I just tried holding one with a rubber glove and it failed to function at all.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Just wondering....

        Capacitive stylii still depend on your body to work, which is why you still need to hold them with either bare fingers or special conducting gloves.

        So anything that can affect your using a finger will also affect the stylus.

        1. d3vy
          Joke

          Re: Just wondering....

          Sooo... Rubber gloves and a frankfurter then... :)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhjG5daThoQ

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Just wondering....

            I don't think it works for just any sausage. It takes specific kinds, plus I would think they're not very sturdy or long-lasting, and I wouldn't want that in my pockets.

  34. Flywheel Silver badge

    Precautions

    I'm surprised the Government doesn't fit jammers to every young person as routine, and just enable them remotely when the need arises.

    Think of the jobs! Think of the children!

  35. nijam

    ... and then they can be arrested every day, since the use of WiFi jammers is largely illegal.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Not if it's the GOVERNMENT doing the jamming, since last I checked State use of jammers is exempt, especially for security reasons.

  36. Daniel 18

    What could go wrong, let me count the ways...

    Points of failure, after 5 seconds consideration:

    1. Aluminum foil, as already noted.

    2. Illegal interference with other 2.4 GHz services.

    3. The existence of 5 GHz routers

    4. Ethernet cables.

    ... and there are doubtless more.

  37. NatalieEGH

    I agree an ankle worn signal jammer is easy to overcome with simple aluminum foil essentially putting it inside a Faraday cage. Further there is still wired connections but those are much easier for a parent/guardian to monitor.

    The idea that the strapping of the jammer to ones legs is a health hazard must have already been addressed as the use for adult criminals appears to already be in place. That therefore is a non-issue.

    I do question the statement that such a jammer is a violation of any type of right, human or otherwise. I do not know the laws in England, the UK, or Europe so please explain how a technology that did not exist when I was a child has become a right. Does this mean that driving a vehicle is a right? I can see a statement that one should have access to good free medical and dental, a warm dry place to live, water, and food as rights but to me, being able to place a telephone call or to text someone should at the highest be considered a privilege. A privilege that is paid for. Should it be a right, that would indicate the government should be providing the endpoint devices and providing the connectivity, for FREE, further there should be 100% fully powered coverage. Rights are free. Privileges can be purchased.

    Hacking for purposes of criminal activity is a crime. It does not matter if the criminal is an adult or a child. Should they be disciplined the same? No. But both must be disciplined and the form of the discipline should fit the crime. I can make no recommendations on what forms as that will vary based on laws, beliefs, and attitudes within each jurisdiction. I do think it should be more effective than something overcome by a primitive Faraday cage.communication???

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just stop fiicking about - 5 minutes of billy club and then break their fingers.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And if the guy's a masochist?

  39. kmac499

    Oh please tell me this guys dayjob involves working in intelligence...

  40. Thored

    Mobile wifi jammers with attitudes

    They will be jamming public wifi APs just for fun.

  41. GrumpyOldMan

    Perfect Solution!

    Cut internet access for my daughters they'd think the Apocalypse had arrived! They live in a 3" LCD world. You should hear the fuss when I simply reboot the WiFi router! If they'd been bad enough for a jammer they wouldn't do it again!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I had a wifi jammer strapped to my ankle...

    ..I'd make point in living on the nearest Starbucks and cause all those damn hipsters to leave the premises, or buy a freaking 4G plan for an exorbitant price.

    Oh wait.

    It is a license to print money if you talk to the right phone companies!

  43. Lord_Beavis
    Mushroom

    Christ on a cracker...

    Somebody please release the singularity. I'm done with this idiotic fucking planet.

  44. IGnatius T Foobar
    Thumb Up

    I like it.

    Rendering a teenager unable to access Facebook will produce an *outstandingly* well-socialized adult.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problems!?!?

    1: What is to prevent a person fitted with such a device from wrapping it with aluminum foil to totally defeat the jamming?

    2: How would the person sitting/standing next to such a person with such a device know why his phone and computer don't work? This would make such a person a peria!

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