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South Carolina Wants To Jam Cell Phone Signals

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the oooo-oooo-me-too dept.

Cellphones 601

Corey Brook writes "The South Carolina state prison system wants the FCC to grant them and local officers permission to block cell phone signals. News has been out about the growing problem of them perps smuggling cell phones into prisons for a while now. Inmates use cell phones as commerce, to implement fraud, smuggle drugs and weapons, and to order hits. Of course, some may use it to just talk to a loved one any time they can." Hopefully movie theaters and restaurants do it next.

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601 comments

Everyone rush out and buy a DTV converter box. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872267)

Just get a converter box. Help the FCC can smuggle money out of the pockets of the poor and destitute.

fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872269)

jam this, cocksuckers!

Mobile phones (4, Funny)

cheetham (247087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872271)

I must resist mentioning how in Soviet Russia, mobile phones jam you!

In my local cinema recently, people were quite good with keeping phones on silent, but the light from people checking and sending text messages still annoyed me a bit.

Re:Mobile phones (0, Troll)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872311)

Sounds like you weren't watching the movie then. Maybe your problem was a crappy movie?

Re:Mobile phones (4, Insightful)

moranar (632206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872367)

Or, you know, you could be annoyed by flickers of light you see with your peripheral vision.

Re:Mobile phones (1)

cheetham (247087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872369)

It was the new Bond film, so that certainly is a possibility!

I've never really ever had a problem with mobile phones in restaurants.

Re:Mobile phones (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872673)

That's 'cos eating still trumps talking for most people.

How many people are going to sit there yakking while their food goes cold? Not too many.

Food is pretty much up there with sex as far as primal instincts go.

Re:Mobile phones (5, Funny)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872451)

But if you ban cell phones in prison, only criminals will have cell phones in prison!

Re:Mobile phones (4, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872627)

Our local cinema already blocks cell-phone signals. Active blocking violates FCC regs. Passive blocking is just fine per my understanding. Phones work in the lobby but drop to 0 bars as soon as you get to the hallway leading to the screens.

The logistics of retro-fitting an entire prison complex with a passive blocking cage may be prohibitively difficult, though. In the theater, it was a design feature when it was built a couple of years ago.

smuggling (5, Funny)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872275)

I just realized what they mean by smuggling them in. I'm guessing I wouldn't want one of those phones close to my mouth/nose.

Prison (1, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872343)

I just realized what they mean by smuggling them in. I'm guessing I wouldn't want one of those phones close to my mouth/nose.

That's not all. In prison, other things can get close to your mouth and nose you wouldn't want. That's why it's prison. Be smarter than everyone you know and you might stay out of jail. Besides, most white collar crimes require too much effort to be even worth your time. (although bailouts seem to be the new bank-heist, and you get away with it!)

Re:smuggling (5, Funny)

decalod85 (1214532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872349)

My guess is that slimline phones are very popular. I wonder if they get "crappy" reception?

Re:smuggling (5, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872379)

I just realized what they mean by smuggling them in. I'm guessing I wouldn't want one of those phones close to my mouth/nose.

Because you're allergic to the cake frosting? </naive>

Re:smuggling (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872439)

I'm going to get a cell phone implanted in my penis in case I ever go to prison, that way if anyone ever gets caught using it the guards will just think they're talking to my penis. I'm guessing that's normal behavior in prison.

Even if I never go to prison, I can always just keep it on vibrate and still get some use out of it.

Re:smuggling (1, Funny)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872459)

How funny would it be when your ass started ringing with "Milkshake" or "Baby Got Back" as your ringtone. I bet you'd make a lot of, erm, friends quick.

I still don't get it though. (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872467)

OK they claim they're smuggling cellphones into prisons somehow (heh I wonder if they put them in vibrate mode ;) ).

To me the big problem really is that if they can smuggle in stuff the size of a cellphone they can smuggle in lots of other more dangerous stuff.

I don't get why are cellphones themselves a problem, and why the solution is jamming them. After all:

1) If you're actually going to use the cellphones to communicate wirelessly (rather than use them to play games or other stuff), they will emit a very detectable signal.

So it's trivial to find them if they're on.

2) It's a prison, if prisoners are not allowed cellphones, guards can probably walk in at any time, and confiscate them after detecting them by whatever means. And the culprits involved get the usual punishment stuff.

3) The prison could put their own cell stations and listen in. For typical GSM stuff, while the comms between the phone and the base stations are encrypted (albeit intentionally weakened crypto), the comms from the base station to the rest of the network is in plaintext. No really expensive fancy stuff needed.

Re:smuggling (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872469)

I figured they would just have a visitor bring it to them.

Re:smuggling (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872687)

Or they bribe/coerce guards (and other staff) to bring the phones in.

Waaaaaa!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872503)

"Of course, some may use it to just talk to a loved one any time they can."

Oh, don't you just feel so bad for those poor prisoners who just want to talk to a loved one? Quick, someone cue the sad violin music! Next time try not to commit a felony jackass. It really isn't that hard. All it takes is demonstrating a little concern for those around you rather than focusing on satisfying your needs at all costs.

More Seriously though (3, Insightful)

itsenrique (846636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872619)

its not inmates with cellphones coming in at intake, and its probably unlikely that anyone other than a CORRECTIONS OFFICER gets a phone in for someone. the real issue is corruption here. i doubt a CO would smuggle a gun in for you at any cost, but a cell phone... well everyone has a price i guess. i think south carolinas first move should be to investigate how so many cell phones get inside in the first place.

Re:smuggling (3, Funny)

AceCoolie (1304495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872647)

Insert LG Chocolate jokes here.

I'd support that... (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872281)

"Hopefully movie theaters and restaurants do it next."

That's the one thing that really pisses me off when I go to watch a film in the cinema: some dickhead who decides to start texting or checking the football scores during the movie.

Seriously, these guys must be loaded if they can afford to pay £8 to watch a film and then spend the whole time on their fucking phone.

Re:I'd support that... (3, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872401)

For a long time I agreed with this but then I realized the last place I want my phone blocked in an emergency is someplace with minimum wage workers (and probably managers.) And as obnoxious as a phone is in the theater, those are the same idiots who talk to the people they come with during the film anyways.

Re:I'd support that... (4, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872663)

I'd be sad. I'm on call, so I take my phone with me, set it to silent, and leave the cinema if I get called out - this happens very rarely on a saturday afternoon, but there would be trouble if I knowingly went somewhere there was no phone coverage.

Re:I'd support that... (5, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872405)

I wouldn't. A friend of mine worked for the Red Cross, and was required to keep an emergency phone on her at all times when she was on-call-- and those on-call periods could last upwards of a week. Or how about a doctor who needs to be accessible immediately, but also has social obligations?

We don't need jammers in theatres and restaurants. What we need are old-fashioned ushers, and old-fashioned shaming. Some asshole keeps lighting up five rows down? Shout at him to quit it. If he gives you guff, go to the manager. You'll probably get a free ticket out of the deal, and he'll get turfed. If you're at a restaurant... well sorry, but you're at a restaurant. People socialize over food.

Old fashioned pagers... (1, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872703)

Somebody who's on-call could carry an old fashioned non-blocked pager.

The cinema's phone blocker could easily detect 911 calls and turn off the the blocking if it detected one.

Re:Old fashioned pagers... (5, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872757)

> The cinema's phone blocker could easily detect 911 calls and turn off the the blocking if it detected one.

Really? Easily?

Care to describe how it could easily detect 911 calls, without actually being a cellular base station in its own right?

Re:I'd support that... (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872783)

Maybe the friend could watch TV or videos at home rather than in public then? Or have a pager as someone else suggested. As long as the friend knows where blocking is taking place the friend can avoid those places.

Re:I'd support that... (0)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872419)

Or maybe they just don't like the movie and get bored? Or even more possibly, they're a part of the internet generation and their attention span is too short to last the length of the movie.

Re:I'd support that... (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872449)

Too fucking bad for them then. If they don't like the movie, they're free to walk out the door. They don't get to ruin it for everyone else just because they don't like it or can't even pay attention to it.

Re:I'd support that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872729)

>Too fucking bad for them then. If they don't like >the movie, they're free to walk out the door. They >don't get to ruin it for everyone else just because >they don't like it or can't even pay attention to >it.

What a fucktard or maybe that should be fucked turd all i can say is i hope he needs urgent help one day and one of those pox infested phone blockers screws his help big time

Cell phone blocking paint (2, Interesting)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872289)

I seem to recall reading about cell phone blocking paint [slashdot.org] and wall paper [slashdot.org] . I doubt these require FCC approval. On the other hand, they're harder to get rid of when you use the building for a new purpose, and no longer care about cell blocking. The illegal electronic jammers that they probably want to get FCC approval for could be turned off as soon as they were no longer necessary.

Oh yea. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872337)

Like they're really going to refurb that super-max prison as condos for the elderly.

Re:Cell phone blocking paint (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872475)

How about concrete and steel? Don't they put walls on prisons in South Carolina?

Re:Cell phone blocking paint (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872737)

Passive 'jamming' is not illegal. Active jamming is. The difference is that you're flooding the airwaves with white noise in a spectrum.

Most movie theaters aren't rezoned as anything else. I know that some adult only theaters have become popular (They serve dinner and alcohol and make it 21+) among DINKs because they don't have to deal with anyone's kids. Next one they plan on building, just toss in a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] and call it good.

My concerns (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872297)

I work right next to SCDC's main prison facility in Columbia. Right now, the thing that really concerns us is "spillover" of this jamming into our area. We have a wifi network that we depend on (and cellphones we need, of course) and so the last thing we need is this plan having unitended consequences for wireless signals. It doesn't help that South Carolina state government has a long history of hiring shoddy technology contractors who promise the world and deliver a buggy product that only makes things worse. Jon Ozmint (the head of SCDC) has sworn that it won't leak outside of their facilities, but I'm somewhat cautious.

The Ridegville test referred to in the article wasn't that worthwhile because Ridgeville is isolated (it's in the middle of nowhere and lagely self-contained.) The main facility in Columbia is a much larger, more wide open area located right next to the state police headquaters, Dept. of Public Safery, and several other state agencies and businesses--all of whom depend greatly on their cellhones, networks, and communications equipment. I just don't see how they could blanket that whole area and not have spillover jamming--Unless they restrict it to inside of their buildings which would mean that most prisoners would still have plenty of opportunities to use their cellphones (since most prisoners spend a lot of time outside the buildings, except for the really high-level ones)

It's not that we're not sympathetic to the problem of cellphones in the prison system. We're just worried that they might be rushing forward with an untested and possibly ill-advised solution that could have a deleterious effect on nearby wireless usage. We're hoping they will at least give us a testing period to see its effects before they bring it online.

Re:My concerns (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872443)

Jon Ozmint (the head of SCDC) has sworn that it won't leak outside of their facilities, but I'm somewhat cautious.

I'm pretty sure that all signals leak to some extent. If he claims no leakage at all, then he's already making ill-informed claims.

Re:My concerns (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872493)

Minor correction...

It doesn't help that everyone has a long history of hiring shoddy technology contractors who promise the world and deliver a buggy product that only makes things worse.

As another poster observed [slashdot.org] there's other ways to implement blocking cell phone signals. Those other ways probably don't look too "sexy" though (i.e. not enough shiny blinky lights for management and/or not high enough margins for the contractor ).

Re:My concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872607)

If it does leak into your area, why not file an imminent domain suit? Sounds like a taking to me.

It's a different sort of "jamming". (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872749)

This isn't old-fashioned jamming where you broadcast white noise to drown out everything else in the area, it's installation of a dummy cell which the phones will lock onto instead of the real thing.

If you control the cell you can do what you like with the calls.

One obvious question... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872299)

What in the hell are inmates doing with cell phones in the first place?

In an environment where even the smallest improvised weapon can be found and confiscated, you'd think it would be drop-easy for the prison to find and confiscate a cell phone. Any inmate caught with one gets n weeks/months added to their sentence... problem solved.

Seriously - it's prison, not a Hilton, FFS - if they need to use a phone (for speaking to their lawyer, loved-ones, etc), let 'em use a POTS phone wired into a wall somewhere.

The solution the SC prison system is looking for? It's akin to wrapping ships in Saran Wrap to fix any potential leaks - expensive and not very workable over time...

/P

Re:One obvious question... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872371)

Prisoners are notoriously good at smuggling in and hiding contraband (they have all day to think of little else and very little to lose if they get caught). And it doesn't help that SCDC is SERIOUSLY understaffed right now (thanks to years of budget cuts and neglect).

Homeland Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872477)

Prisoners are notoriously good at smuggling in and hiding contraband (they have all day to think of little else and very little to lose if they get caught). And it doesn't help that SCDC is SERIOUSLY understaffed right now (thanks to years of budget cuts and neglect).

Solution: All prisoners cells get searched 100% exhaustively thoroughly. All prisoners are required to go thru a security screening corridor single file with a full-body X-ray scanner like airports have, in case they try to smuggle a cellphone up their rectum.

Re:One obvious question... (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872473)

you'd think it would be drop-easy for the prison to find and confiscate a cell phone

You've never been in prison have you? ;)

Imagine having nothing to do for 24 hours a day other than think of ways to smuggle shit past the guards. Think you might come up with a few ideas?

Re:One obvious question... (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872715)

Not only that, but (i) it can be profitable to sneak shit past the guards and (ii) each time one does get something by the guards, it counts a small victory against one's tormentors. That's a hell of a lot of motivation to go along with that hell of a lot of time.

Re:One obvious question... (2, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872765)

Imagine having nothing to do for 24 hours a day other than think of ways to smuggle shit past the guards.

Smuggling shit is notoriously easy. Everyone of us does it every day. Smuggling other stuff, like cellphones or weapons, is somewhat harder, and requires a modicum of thought.

Re:One obvious question... (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872501)

The other prisoners have a good reason to snitch about weapons. It's hard to shank someone with a cell phone, so it goes un reported.

Re:One obvious question... (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872529)

Any inmate caught with one gets n weeks/months added to their sentence... problem solved.

Because inmates are known to have respect for consequences and surely wouldn't want to do anything that could get them, oh wait...

Re:One obvious question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872531)

What in the hell are inmates doing with cell phones in the first place?

A few years ago they were calling college girls to scare and harass them sexually. UMass in particular. The fucking police did jack sh!t to stop it except advise people to hang up (gee really? Thanks for that tip, officer).

Re:One obvious question... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872641)

you'd think it would be drop-easy for the prison to find and confiscate a cell phone.

Oh, please, it's not like cell phones have some kind of built-in radio transmitter which would make them easy to...

Oh, yeah. Never mind.

Careful what you wish for... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872301)

Don't jail guards and prison official also use cell phones? They might enjoy being able to make a quick call for reinforcements when a riot starts or when someone breaks out.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872351)

Then using a cell phone rather than a radio would be very unwise.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872547)

Yes, because cops never use cell phones for on-duty related tasks, so why would prison guards?

Get real. The last time I called the cops via 911 due to a neighbor fanning a pistol around in an unsafe manner I was called back within seconds by the cop on a cell phone who was rolling up on the scene. It was a quick way for him to gather timely intel and tell the inbound backup what to expect.

I'm sure there are valid applications for prison guards as well.

Re:Careful what you wish for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872361)

Spoilsport !!!!

Re:Careful what you wish for... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872483)

They have systems in place to deal with that.

Can you imagine if they didn't, you would have the guy who's phone broke for whatever reason on the floor with absolutely no protection. Radios, intercoms, closed circuit TV and all sorts of things are in place. They even have panic switches that they can activate or becomes activated automatically when they fall down (as if attacked).

The whole idea of prison is (4, Interesting)

chiangovitch (1371251) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872309)

you do NOT get to do whatever you want whenever you want. Those rights were temporarily forfeited upon conviction. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Re:The whole idea of prison is (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872515)

The only problem I would have with an active jammer is the interference it could cause in unintended areas. And for the costs of the tech, they might be just as well off using less of the jammers and some sort of radio frequency location just to take them from the prisoners.

Re:The whole idea of prison is (3, Insightful)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872605)

you do NOT get to do whatever you want whenever you want. Those rights were temporarily forfeited upon conviction.

Um, I've never been convicted and I still don't get to do whatever I want whenever I want. In fact, if I did that, I could go to jail!

why not? (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872313)

After all, they already jammed the phone up someone's asshole to get it into prison.

Theatre's & restaurants next, huh? (5, Insightful)

The Iconoclast (24795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872355)

Hopefully movie theaters and restaurants do it next.

Yes, because if there is one thing that I would wish of my theatre- and restaurant- going experiences, would be that they be more like prison. :P

Re:Theatre's & restaurants next, huh? (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872485)

Yes, because if there is one thing that I would wish of my theatre- and restaurant- going experiences, would be that they be more like prison. :P

The Taiwanese have answered your desires:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/610485.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Theatre's & restaurants next, huh? (5, Insightful)

Sinistar2k (225578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872671)

What people want to jam is not cell phones in movie theaters and restaurants. What they want to ban are the people that abuse cell phone use in those environments.

I mention this because it seems like I'm the one guy that always has to pop into "ban the phones" threads to remind people that some of us use cell phones for emergency purposes and would rather not have to give up eating at local establishments or seeing first-run movies just because not everybody is good enough to put the phone on vibrate and leave the company of others when they get a call.

So, hopefully movie theaters and restaurants never do it. My wife and I go out very infrequently as it is because of our son's medical needs. I wouldn't want to lose what little opportunity we have to enjoy an evening out.

Monitor (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872387)

Wouldn't it make more sense to just monitor the airwaves in prison than outright block the signals ?

Setup smaller receivers around the prison that for one, would let officers get the drop on anything inmates try to plan out, surely there's no wiretapping laws in prison considering phones are surely contraband, and for two with a few smaller receivers they could at least triangulate the position down to a cell block and perform a shakedown.

I'm just worried about what is going to happen when inmates take over the prison, how is Bruce Willas supposed to communicate with the guys outside if they simply block the signals ?

Re:Monitor (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872525)

Setup smaller receivers around the prison that for one, would let officers get the drop on anything inmates try to plan out, surely there's no wiretapping laws in prison considering phones are surely contraband

Umm, it's not that easy to wiretap cell phones over the air as you suggest. My understanding is that with GSM it requires very specialized (i.e: expensive) equipment and that with CDMA it may be nearly impossible for anyone who lacks the resources of the Federal Government.

A better idea would be to just retrofit the cell blocks with a Faraday cage. Of course that might pose a problem with the guards with radios -- so they'd probably need some sort of repeater system that only worked on the frequencies of whatever communications system they use.

Re:Monitor (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872571)

The cell blocks are constructed out of steel re-bar meshes and concrete, just like my appartment complex. If inmates are getting better reception in jail than I am at home I'm going to be pissed.

I'm thinking that inmates aren't using them in the cells as much as in other areas of the prison. So my cellblock trinagulation probably wouldn't be as effective come to think of it.

I still think monitoring instead of blocking is the way to go though.

Re:Monitor (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872551)

But equipment to monitor signals, detect signals, locate signal sources, and trained personnel cost money that the prison system does not have. It costs more to hire a few people full time to maintain and operate all that gear, compared to just contracting out installation of a jammer, or a foily paint job.

In cost vs. benefit, I would say preventing signals is less costly than monitoring, detection, and confiscation.

Blocking removes the benefit of inmates smuggling in phones.

Re:Monitor (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872599)

What about when you figure in the inside information that could be gathered by monitoring these places ?

Re:Monitor (1)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872565)

What about legitimate phone calls? If I was working in a prison (guard / janitor / warden / whatever), I wouldn't like to know that my phone is being sniffed. There are many situations when you need to have a mobile phone with you while you're in prison (visiting lawyer). How can you prove that the trackers won't be easily fine-tuned to listen to phone calls in the near-by area? There will always be idiots that will want to tune in on the neighborhood and there might be important companies around prisons where a no-signal is A LOT cheaper than someone finding out secret conversations. What if these sniffers are portable and someone takes them out of the prison and moves them next to an important government facility or company hq and listens to their conversations?

That being said, I think a jam is less bad than listening to conversations.

Re:Monitor (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872633)

The answer is simple, anything gathered from the surrounding neighborhood by the prisons monitoring system wouldn't hold up in court because of how it was obtained.

Re:Monitor (1)

b96miata (620163) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872781)

I'd certainly be upset if I lived/worked/frequently drove nearby a prison. I don't want my private communications monitored because *gasp* some inmate might be making a phone call.

I think it would make more sense to forget about this whole stupid idea. The last thing we need to do is give prison guards more power. Letting them jam cell signals is bad. Giving them the power to arbitrarily monitor them is far worse.

What about emergency personnel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872391)

Yeah, let's not consider the fact that emergency personnel such as firefighters, policeman, and paramedics may have legitimate uses in theaters and restaurants for emergency radios, pagers, and cell phones. When your house goes up in flames because the firefighter doesn't get the call, you can at least be glad you didn't have to listen to his phone go off :).

Re:What about emergency personnel? (1)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872431)

I can guarantee you that any of the people you mentioned above, if they were on call, would not be sitting in a theater taking the chance on losing out on their $20. They would either be off duty and not susceptible to being paged. or would have told whomever to not page them for X amount of time.

Re:What about emergency personnel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872523)

I can tell that you live in an area fortunate enough to afford paid fire protection. Consider the rest of the state/nation/world when posting, you ignorant clod.

Re:What about emergency personnel? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872541)

So anyone who works in the medical field should just have to forgo going to the movies? What about people with kids and a babysitter at home that needs to reach them? Wouldn't a better solution be for the fucking theaters to employ ushers again, whom could presumably stop people from abusing their cell phones while the movie is playing?

Re:What about emergency personnel? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872621)

I can guarantee you that any of the people you mentioned above, if they were on call, would not be sitting in a theater taking the chance on losing out on their $20. They would either be off duty and not susceptible to being paged. or would have told whomever to not page them for X amount of time.

Yes, a specialist heart surgeon who makes a quarter-million a year wouldn't take the chance that he might lose out on $20 in exchange for saving someone's life. You're a brilliant, brilliant man, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:What about emergency personnel? (1)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872623)

Really? You can guarantee that? Please do.

Jammers are a bad idea, as one of the above posters said, yell at them to take it outside or go complain to the manager. Some folks need to be on call but would still like to go out and enjoy themselves on occasion. A few annoying loud mouths shouldn't ruin an entire subset of professions from going to the theater. Specially considering they are most likely not the ones causing the disturbances your complaining about.

I'm actually surprised so many people are for jamming these places on slashdot. I thought many of us were on call 24/7.

Re:What about emergency personnel? (1)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872625)

I can guarantee that there are firemen that are off-duty but that are still paged when there's an emergency. Being an off-duty fireman means that you're not reliable during that period but if there's an emergency (9/11 anyone?), you can bet they'll try to call you in immediately. If you fail to respond, nothing happens. If you respond and go to work, you might save some lives.

Fire doesn't give a shit about the firemen's schedule and criminals try to take advantage of the policemen's schedule. When there's a REAL emergency, I doubt they won't bother to call in off-duty workers.

Hold on there... (5, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872403)

Hopefully movie theaters and restaurants do it next.

If the problem is the noise or the light from the screens, kick people out for breaking the rules (one warning for light, no warnings for talking, for example), but I really don't want us to make a habit of jamming RF devices. That's a bit like banning alcohol to keep people from driving drunk. What if there's a fire? A crime? A doctor with an emergency who knows how to stand up and walk out when he gets a call?

Heavy-handed solutions create tons of problems. Ask people to behave like respectful adults and kick them out the moment they fail to do so.

Re:Hold on there... (3, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872513)

I agree. The issue with a lot of rules (especially rules that aren't laws, such as the ones mentionned above) is that they aren't enforced, and people don't seem to care about enforcing them. If there's a HUGE "No cellphone" sign in the theater, and someone is talking their ass off in front of me during a movie, and I politely (seriously) ask them to be a little more quiet (not even stop!), I get told to fuck off. If there's a no smoking sign in the bus stop's shelter and someone is smoking, and I ask them to take 2 steps outside of it (on a sunny day!), I'll also get told to mind my own business. And with all of these, if I tell the people in CHARGE of enforcing those rules, they'll ignore me.

Result? People ask for more laws, or for draconian measures, like the grandparent.

Re:Hold on there... (-1, Flamebait)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872689)

You just get no respect do you.

I guess with the movie theater, if you start asking the usher or manager for a refund, even get a little loud about it claiming that if you can't watch the movie in piece because they don't enforce their own rules, you shouldn't be screwed out of your money. Then if thy don't give it to them, document their name and write to the main office, and if the main office screws your, spend the $50 or whatever it is in your area and take them to small claims court for the $8-10 back. The negetive publicity is going to hurt their sales only a little but you might get enough other people fired up to put their foot down too and then something will be done about it.

As for the smoking in the bus shelter, well, mind your own business or stop taking public transportation.

Jail house blocked (3, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872413)


Everybody in the whole cell block
They was jammed' up 'cause the cellphones blocked

Re:Jail house blocked (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872519)

I prefer 10CC's "Load up with cellphone jammers."

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872415)

I live in South Carolina, and although I have no plans to go to jail/prison, this still bugs me. South Carolina is hard on every single law, except the age of consent which is 16. Bah.

Active Jamming vs. Faraday Cage (3, Informative)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872425)

There's a restaurant in my area which accidentally set up at Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] with the wire mesh used in their stucco exterior. Cell phones don't work inside.

I suppose with a prison like this they have multiple buildings and the prisoners might have time outside where they could use cell phones. Then, of course, they want their own guard's radios to work.

Re:Active Jamming vs. Faraday Cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872661)

"Faraday Cage with the wire mesh used in their stucco exterior"

BS

Re-read the how a Faraday Cage really works, that would not be a real Faraday Cage just potentialy kill signals not be impervious to an EMP.

But they are _cell_ phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872453)

Where the cell phones are supposed to be used then, if not in cells?

Lone Star!! (1)

supersoundguy (1308579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872457)

Only one man would DARE give me the raspberry...

Prison Phone Phreaks (1)

WmLGann (1143005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872461)

I used to work for a software company that provided automated telephone operator software. Among their clients was a small local phone company that provided pay phones to the SCDC for use in prison. Well, I shouldn't say "pay phones" exactly, they provided the ruggedized husks of pay phones without coin boxen and with the coin acceptors removed or welded shut. This was because the only kind of call allowed in prison is an outbound collect call of 5 minutes' duration. In theory. The prisoners would do an unbelievably competent phreaking job and we had to patch the software that controlled these phones every three to six months on account of new ways the prisoners would find to get around the calling restrictions. My favorite was where the prisoner would say something incoherent when prompted for a name that the phone switch would present to the call recipient. After a few tries they would often get someone gullible to accept the charges, and then they would somehow get this random person to set up a 3-way call with the person the prisoner really wanted to talk to, and have the whole thing billed to the random person's phone. Way back in the day, they used to use live human operators to set up the collect calls. The humans were slightly easier to take advantage of than the automated system that replaced them, and more likely to sue their employer for subjecting them to phone conversations with prisoners.

Disturbing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872481)

What is most disturbing about this is one of the keywords for the story, "fuckthepolice". What is that? It says a lot about the original poster methinks.

Sensational (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872495)

That's kind of a sensational headline isn't it? I mean, the entire state of South Carolina is going to jam cell phones!? My god that is Fascist! Oh wait. They want to do it in prisons. Snore. I mean, I guess the sensational headline did its job, because if they would have added 'in prisons' to the end of it, I would have thought 'big deal, prisoners aren't supposed to have mobile phones anyway'.

Its sort of like writing a headline that says 'US To Mandate Switch to Nuclear Fission Powered Cars', and then in the summary say (by the year 4062).

Re:Sensational (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872543)

slashdot has no other choice to be sensational about 75% of all stories. otherwise we'd realize how much these people are just a bunch of crying little babies. that goes double for cmdrtaco and his crap.

If this goes through... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872563)

What we'll get here is: failure to communicate.

Some phones you just won't reach.

I don't like it any more than you men.

Big problem on Texas Death Row (4, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872569)

Cell phones in prisons have been big news in Texas, after a Death Row inmate was stupid enough to make threatening calls to the chairman of the state Senate's Criminal Justice Committee. They're still being found [chron.com] , weeks after a supposed crackdown that turned up dozens of in-cell cell phones systemwide, along with an inordinate amount of drugs and weapons.

The Grits For Breakfast [blogspot.com] criminal justice blog has been following the issue closely, asking questions like "Will we see prosecutions of staff who smuggle cell phones in addition to inmates and family members paying for their minutes?" Answer: probably not. Sen. Whitmire, whose family was the target of phoned-in threats from Death Row, summed it up pretty nicely at an emergency Senate hearing on the issue. TDCJ officials promised to implement a plan they'd been working on, to prevent guards from smuggling contraband to prisoners, to which Whitmire responded with a question: Why the hell weren't you doing that already?

One story mentioned a phone that was only found by an abdominal X-ray. I wonder if it was this little bugger [thinkgeek.com] ? Oh, sorry, bad choice of words.

"Jamming" is such a misused term (5, Interesting)

Controlio (78666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872581)

"Jamming" is not necessary. Everyone seems to think that blowing out a signal is the only way to get things done. That is way too short-sighted.

It's easy to install a cell network of your own. Hell, Sprint sells 4-person personal cell towers in their stores in the US. So instead of "jamming" the frequencies, make a localized cell network that simply black-holes the unauthorized calls. This could even be adapted so the ESNs of legitimate users (guards, warden, etc) could be passed through, so everyone is happy.

Or if you want to go the "Big Brother" route, make a localized network that snoops on all the unauthorized voice and data traffic. Seems like a great way to prove that criminals inside jails with cell phones are actually orchestrating crimes instead of just guessing about it.

what is incarceration about? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872589)

it should deprive you of rights, because you deprived someone else of theirs (stolen from them, took their life, raped them)

prisoners shouldn't have television, computer access, or cellphones. what is the whole point of incarceration in the first place?

Some people need cell phone access. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25872697)

Hopefully movie theaters and restaurants do it next.

Hopefully people with your attitude never accomplish that. I have a cell phone with me at all times due to my daughter's extensive health problems. Am I not allowed to go to the movies or out to eat? If a cell phone bothers you that much then perhaps you need to be taking a closer look at yourself to see if you are the problem.

But, but.... (1)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872699)

If I can't have a CELL phone in my prison CELL, what's the use????

Ask Network Providers to Drop calls from inside (1)

Roenax (1399265) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872769)

If every mobile phone location is known. Just drop any calls located within the prison cell phone grid reference. It can't be that hard to do.
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