Prison software sniffs out cell phone signals


Admittedly, I’ve never been in prison (putting technology bloggers in with regular inmates is NOT safe for the inmates) but I’d undoubtedly try to smuggle in a cell phone and, at the very least, a netbook of some type. Apparently cell phones are a big problem in prisons nowadays and body orifice scanners (see previous coverage here[1]) may not have quite caught on yet.

A company called AirPatrol looks to solve illegal cell and wireless devices in prison with “Wireless Locator System” software. It’s basically able to sniff out Wi-Fi and cellular signals in a given area and pinpoint the location of those devices on a map.

“WLS is the best alternative solution to the contraband cell phone problem plaguing correctional facilities across the nation. WLS wirelessly detects and pinpoints contraband cell phones and unlike RF jamming techniques is completely legal and approved for use in the United States and doesn’t interfere with authorized, legitimate cell phone usage. WLS yields 24 x 7, 365 days a year, real-time cell phone and Wi-Fi device location details throughout a correctional facility. WLS includes a forensics database, an essential tool for logging and archiving cell phone event information, including where a phone is detected, allowing prison monitors to see a log of the start and stop times of voice calls, as well as emails, SMS and MMS.”

Apparently jamming cell phone signals is illegal, despite a similar movement by movie theater owners[2] to keep people from using mobile devices. Maybe they could just use this software instead to pinpoint all the cell phone-using tweens. That, or make everyone sit on the body orifice scanner[3] on the way into the theater.

Press Release[4]


  1. ^ previous coverage here (
  2. ^ a similar movement by movie theater owners (
  3. ^ the body orifice scanner (
  4. ^ Press Release (
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