Telefónica wins US$10mn prison security contract

Monday, July 18, 2011

Telefónica Empresas Chile has won a five-year contract worth 84mn pesos (US$181,206) per month to operate a mobile phone blocking system for Chilean prisons, the justice ministry reported.

A new technology to block mobile phone signals, and stop inmates from committing phone scams and fraud, will be implemented in three prisons in Chile, justice minister Felipe Bulnes announced on the ministry website.

It is common in Chile for people who are serving a sentence to continue committing crimes by calling phone users and making them believe they have a relative in trouble, and telling them they need to deposit money in an account. The minister also suggested that the system would help put a stop to gangs operating from inside prisons.

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The technology consists of a 50cm device and strategically placed antennas that act as signal receptors in a limited geographical space. These signals will then be sent back to the monitoring unit where software filters each call whether received or dialled.

In the last 11 years, the prison department has confiscated more than 60,000 mobile phones from country's jails.