CellAntenna Selectively Blocks Prison Cell Waves, Doesn't Block Outside World

If you have a tendency to be afraid of "The Man," you just might get jumpy after hearing this. It's one of the most two-sided, polarizing issues we've seen to date in the technology world, and no, we're not talking about Apple vs. Microsoft. It's over the battle to remove cell phones from the hands of prison inmates; no matter how tight security is, some inmates still end up with cellphones in their hands, and it's pretty obvious that no one who loves their safety wishes that trend to continue.

In order to hopefully put a stop to it the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) authorized the first federally sanctioned test of cell phone signal jamming technology inside the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, MD using CellAntenna technology. You'll probably understand that cellphone jamming is illegal is most cases, as it essentially cuts off one's ability to dial 911 or some other emergency number should they get in trouble near a jammer.

But those rules don't really apply to prisons, or at least they don't now. What's interesting about the new technology is that it can somehow jam the prison lines, but not the outside world just outside of its gates. According to CellAntenna, "jamming can be surgical enough to block illegal signals without affecting cell phone communications outside the prison perimeter." The demonstration of the technology is wrapped into a bill, which is currently awaiting House approval that would enable state authorities to use cell phone signals jamming devices in prisons. Today, only Federal agencies can use the technology. Howard Melamed, CellAntenna CEO, had this to say about the situation:

"The issue of contraband cell phones inside America’s prisons has reached pandemic proportions, and this test is a big step toward ending the deaths and illegal activities that can be linked back to convicts with cell phone reception. The Federal government and the NTIA are acknowledging the fact that cell phones in prisons pose a deadly and unnecessary risk to citizens. This test should be a wakeup call for legislators and corrections departments everywhere, because it proves that cell phone jamming is a solution for making our prisons safer."

We can't totally say that we disagree, and we're all for prisoners keeping their thoughts to themselves. What do you think about the matter?