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Old 10-19-2012, 12:16 PM
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Default State of Maryland to deploy Cell Phone Intercept System in Prisons

I didn't hear about this until today. It must have been buried in the back of the Baltimore Sun or not covered at all. This is NOT a jamming solution but rather a pusedo-cell that intercepts calls in the prison.
Using a white list / black list of cell IMEI's the call is either process normally or intercepted and terminated or routed to another number.

"Tecore Awarded Contract to Combat Contraband Cell Phones in Maryland
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 30, 2012

A state at the forefront of the battle against contraband cell phones turns to Tecore’s iNAC Managed Access cutting-edge technology

Columbia, MD, April 30, 2012 – Tecore Networks®, the inventor of Managed Access technology and pioneer global supplier of 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile network infrastructures, today announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to implement its iNAC Managed Access solution. The program, aimed at combating the State’s contraband cell phone problem in prisons, starts with a project implemented in the heart of downtown Baltimore at the Metropolitan Transition Center. .....more..."

Tecore Networks - News + Events - Press Release
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Old 10-19-2012, 3:02 PM
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Default Demonstration of a Similar System

Very interesting.

Here's a fascinating Defcon presentation showing how a similar man-in-the-middle system can be made by anyone with a little cash and a ham license. Just a tiny increase in transmitter power will drown out any other cell tower. Only 'drawback' is that it's limited to GSM networks.

Defcon 18 - Practical Cellphone Spying - YouTube

I'm sure the Maryland system could be made to work with more secure protocols (3G, 4G etc.). But most disposable phones probably don't use these anyway.

I wonder how wiretapping/privacy laws would apply if law enforcement tried to record/trace calls from smuggled cell phones in prisons. Will be interesting to see how this plays out on the legal front.

Cool stuff, thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-20-2012, 1:00 AM
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Quote:
I wonder how wiretapping/privacy laws would apply if law enforcement tried to record/trace calls from smuggled cell phones in prisons. Will be interesting to see how this plays out on the legal front.
Those laws do not apply to prison inmates, as it is illegal for them to possess or use these devices (contraband) and their phone calls as well as written correspondence is already being monitored.
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Old 10-20-2012, 4:08 AM
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California is set to deploy this type of technology to one of its prisons starting next Monday.

New blocking system in state prison will render cellphones useless | News - KCRA Home

They plan to have them installed at all of the prisons within the next couple of years.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Markinsac View Post
California is set to deploy this type of technology to one of its prisons starting next Monday.

New blocking system in state prison will render cellphones useless | News - KCRA Home

They plan to have them installed at all of the prisons within the next couple of years.
The technology will not render cell phones usless, it will only allow registered cell phones to utilize the system. One article even said that the technology used will still allow sms texting from unregistered phones. I wonder if this system will play havoc with the 800 Mhz trunking system.
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Old 10-20-2012, 7:19 PM
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Originally Posted by W8RMH View Post
Those laws do not apply to prison inmates, as it is illegal for them to possess or use these devices (contraband) and their phone calls as well as written correspondence is already being monitored.
Well, the law doesn't apply insofar as inmates don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy when sending and receiving correspondence, making or receiving phone calls on prison equipment, and talking with visitors on prison property. If you send correspondence to or from prison, you know that it probably will be monitored. So sending it anyway indicates your implied consent. Same goes for making phone calls to or from prison phones, or visiting an inmate. In fact, most prisons have signs warning inmates and visitors that their phone and in-person conversations may be monitored and recorded.

My issue is with what happens when prosecutors try to introduce recorded cell phone conversations from inmates as evidence. The reason inmates use them is because, at least right now, they know such calls are not being intercepted or monitored (unless one or both are being legally wiretapped). So, in a sense, they do have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using cell phones, contraband or not. Could this jeopardize such a recording being admitted into evidence?

If the inmate and other party speak freely, verbalize their belief that they are not being monitored, there are no warning messages or tones transmitted during the conversation, then a court might rule that recording such a conversation, contraband or not, constitutes a warrantless wiretap, and is therefore inadmissible in an all-party state like Maryland. Of course, the inmate could still be prosecuted for possessing a cell phone. But the conversation itself might be protected if the defense could prove both parties had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the recording was made without a warrant.

As far as I know, there is no case law dealing with this specific issue, since to my knowledge no prison currently intercepts and records cell phone calls. In the next few years, I'm sure such screening systems will become standard in prisons, and we'll see inmates lining up to whine about their rights being violated.

If all the system does is allow or disallow cell phone calls, without monitoring conversations, then there's no issue.

Gee, playing devil's advocate sure is fun...
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BadMango View Post
Well, the law doesn't apply insofar as inmates don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy when sending and receiving correspondence, making or receiving phone calls on prison equipment, and talking with visitors on prison property. If you send correspondence to or from prison, you know that it probably will be monitored. So sending it anyway indicates your implied consent. Same goes for making phone calls to or from prison phones, or visiting an inmate. In fact, most prisons have signs warning inmates and visitors that their phone and in-person conversations may be monitored and recorded.

My issue is with what happens when prosecutors try to introduce recorded cell phone conversations from inmates as evidence. The reason inmates use them is because, at least right now, they know such calls are not being intercepted or monitored (unless one or both are being legally wiretapped). So, in a sense, they do have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using cell phones, contraband or not. Could this jeopardize such a recording being admitted into evidence?

If the inmate and other party speak freely, verbalize their belief that they are not being monitored, there are no warning messages or tones transmitted during the conversation, then a court might rule that recording such a conversation, contraband or not, constitutes a warrantless wiretap, and is therefore inadmissible in an all-party state like Maryland. Of course, the inmate could still be prosecuted for possessing a cell phone. But the conversation itself might be protected if the defense could prove both parties had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the recording was made without a warrant.

As far as I know, there is no case law dealing with this specific issue, since to my knowledge no prison currently intercepts and records cell phone calls. In the next few years, I'm sure such screening systems will become standard in prisons, and we'll see inmates lining up to whine about their rights being violated.

If all the system does is allow or disallow cell phone calls, without monitoring conversations, then there's no issue.

Gee, playing devil's advocate sure is fun...
Cell phones are considered dangerous contraband at least in the state of Ca. It is a misdemeanor to bring in cell phones. Prisons do not have the technology to record the cell phones. In front of every California State Prison is a sign that states all cell phone and bluetooth equipped devices are prohibited from entering the secure perimeter of the institution. Inmates, visitors and staff do not have an expectation of privacy when entering the secure perimeter. Because of this is such a large problem in California 15000 cell phones were found last year and this year we are on track of finding around 12000, the FCC with authority given from congress is allowing the interruption of cell service at prisons throughout the country, in an effort to reduce or eliminate the illegal use of cellphones
Cell phones in prison do create a clear and present danger to our society as these criminals are using this technology to arrange hits, conduct gang related business and intimidate witnesses.
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Old 10-21-2012, 8:04 AM
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Originally Posted by GrumpyGuard View Post
Cell phones in prison do create a clear and present danger to our society as these criminals are using this technology to arrange hits, conduct gang related business and intimidate witnesses.
No argument there. It's good to know the problem will finally be tackled effectively.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:52 PM
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"Hello, you have reached the office of the warden, please leave a message."

Listening to those messages sure would be a hoot!
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Old 10-21-2012, 3:38 PM
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During the 9 and a half years that I worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). One of the biggest problems we faced were illegal cellphones in our facilities. As already mention they can threaten and intimidate witnesses, juries, victims and government officials. They can plan and coordinate criminal behavior inside and outside of the prison system.
I personally welcome this technology. Even though I not and not want anything to do with the prison system ever again. It will help control the spread of criminal activity. Even though there isn't anyway to stop it completely in corrections.
Thanks,
Mike Dupree
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