Prison systems are using new surveillance systems to record phone calls and texts that come from within prisons and the areas around prisons.
Officials are not revealing which systems are utilizing this technology.
While prisoners are not allowed to have cell phones, the surveillance technology could prevent staff or visitors from illegally helping or assisting inmates.
The technology is similar to “stingrays” that are utilized by police in the United States. The systems allow officials to intercept calls and texts that come from inside the prisons, as well as their surrounding areas.
Prison officials are using the devices to help stop contraband from entering into the prisons. They also say it will help ensure the safety of inmates and staff.
However, some people are criticizing the new systems, saying that it is a violation of their privacy.
People in areas near prisons aren’t necessarily pleased that prison officials will be able to intercept their phone calls and text messages.
While prison officials say that their intent is good, and that they won’t look at personal text messages or phone calls from outside their prisons, citizens are still skeptical.
Prison officials have not yet confirmed the new systems at any particular facility. They are keeping this information secret in order to prevent security incidents and possible security breaches.
There have not yet been any reported cases of the surveillance systems leading to catching any inappropriate behavior by inmates or prison staff.
The systems function by creating phony mobile phone towers which collect data from mobile signals. The fake towers detect the exact location of where signals are coming.
Such systems have been a useful tool for officers in the United States to prevent the illegal sale of drugs.
The technology also provides interceptors with the make of the sender’s phone, their phone number, and their SIM card number in addition to the text messages and recorded phone calls. It is unknown where the collected phone records will be stored or how long they will be kept.
Privacy experts in the United States are displeased with this new technology. They say that law enforcement officials are spying on citizens without a warrant. The widespread opinion is that spying on inmates is fine, but going outside the prisons is crossing the line, especially since they are not giving the public a specific warning.
While prison officials might say that the systems are useful for preventing illegal substances from entering their prisons, this appears to be a major violation of privacy in America.