Selective Cell Phone Blocking Appearing in Prisons

Need to lock down communications? A new technology has been deployed in prisons to allow some cellular phones, but block phones smuggled in by prisoners.

If your company needs extreme security, you might need to go so far as to block cellular communications. You could enclose a sensitive area in a Faraday cage, and you can block some types of wireless signals with special wallpaper or paint. But what if you're in a high-security situation and authorized users still need to use their cell phones?

According to a release from Tecore Networks, that company recently deployed systems to five prisons in the U.S. that selectively block unauthorized cell phone use. The release didn't reveal the location of the prisons, but it states that there has been a documented case of prisoners using cell phones to coordinate an escape attempt. The release states the prison system first tried using a jamming system, but that blocked all cell phone communications and interfered with commercial cell phone use nearby.

Jamming cell phones is prohibited by Federal Communications Commission rules and requires special permission from the FCC. U.S. legislators have submitted a bill that would allow blocking of cell phone usage in prison, but even if the bill passes FCC permission would still be required to block phones in prisons.

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