WASHINGTON — The federal government is seeking input from interested parties regarding technical solutions to the growing problem of contraband cellular phones in correctional facilities.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is seeking comment on technical approaches to preventing the use of contraband cell phones.
A notice of inquiry published by the NTIA requests information from the public on technologies that could significantly reduce or eliminate contraband cell phone use without impacting public safety communications and commercial wireless services in areas surrounding prisons.
“The illicit use of cell phones by prisoners is a danger to public safety and must be addressed,” says Lawrence E. Strickling, NTIA administrator and assistant secretary for communications and information. “At the same time, we need to make sure that any technical solutions do not interfere with 911 calls, government or other legitimate cell phone use.”
The NTIA advises the White House on matters of communications and information policy. Congress tasked the NTIA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the National Institute of Justice, with developing a plan to investigate and evaluate how wireless jamming of cell phone signals, detection of cell phone signals and other technologies might be used in federal and state prison facilities to stem contraband cell phone use by inmates.