FCC Holds Meeting on Contraband Cellphones in Prisons
Thursday, February 08, 2018 | Comments

The FCC held a stakeholder meeting to address the threats posed by the use of contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities nationwide.

“The illegal use of wireless devices in prisons is a major threat to the safety and welfare of correctional facility employees, other inmates, and the public,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai after the meeting. “This must change and fast.”

He said attendees showed a willingness to take active roles in helping find a path forward. “I’m particularly pleased that the wireless industry committed to taking on a more meaningful role,” he said. “For instance, they’ve shown a willingness to work with government officials to test possible technological solutions and to participate in a task force that will continue today’s conversation with aggressive but achievable deadlines.”

Earlier this week, he called out wireless carriers for not being more involved in the issue.

“The bottom line is that we made some progress, but all of us have much more work to do,” Pai said. “I’m committed to actively working with all stakeholders going forward to combat this public safety threat.”

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On 2/14/18, Communications Professional said:
Don't be misguided by what is now the common cry of a major threat to the safety and welfare this must change and fast. I would recommend a better effort to control all contraband rather than a technology fix that may have other interference and personal rights ramifications. Failing to do the core job of contraband control then I would recommend use of Harris Stingray and their other interception technologies and then create legal authority to allow ubiquitous, unfettered monitoring and access control through existing technologies. I see these new jamming technologies as a not needed ploy for a lucrative niche business venture. Instead of find a need and fill it...it's create a need and then monopolize the market.

I believe this is what is taking place here and that the issue of prison and public safety is being used as a cry for deregulation of what are now highly regulative and frankly secretive devices and a ploy to create a business market where none is really needed. I think the key factor to look at here is that business is driving the train and pulling prisons along to say yes. If the prisons themselves had all the input and multiple vendors and businesses were contracted then I might think this was in the best interest of people and safety and making jobs easier and better. I can't see any indication that this is the case.

Further I believe that the offered opinion that wireless carriers should be more involved is a focal redirect so that the core issues and problems won't be scrutinized. By scapegoating blame on wireless carrier involvement you lose focus on the inability of prisons to control contraband and the fact of a business sector, wireless industry, trying to create a market of new products that aren't really needed and they already have the products out there. In the end, just deregulate and let all government buy them if that is really what you want. I'm thinking this is what business and the government is after and that they ought to just say it. Personally I think it would be better money to hire more prison staff nationwide and work toward all contraband control and leave jamming and or interception devices out of the equation.

I'm not antibusiness and I support the tough job that prisons have to do. If it is deemed such an important task that cellphones can't be controlled then the intercept technology is already available, and they ought to just say so and tell us that they are going to monitor our calls ... honesty and transparency. Sometimes you need help to get the job done. Other times you ought to just do your job.

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