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Managed access proposal for prison based cell phones

Tecore Networks : 22 July, 2009  (Technical Article)
After Senate report reveals that telephone detection in prisons is ineffective in crime prevention, Tecore explains how its iNAC product can reduce the problem through a managed access scheme
Tecore Networks has responded to the July 15th US Senate hearing on S. 251, a bill to enable state correctional institutions to petition to allow signal jamming to prevent the use of cell phones by prison inmates. The evidence shared in testimony and responses to questions underscored that Tecore's solution of managed access is the optimal means to achieve the correctional objective of preventing contraband cell phone use while complying with applicable laws and regulations, including the rights and responsibilities of commercial operators to provide service. Tecore's solution has been proven in an active deployment in a prison system, and does not require changes to existing law in order to operate.

Tecore's analysis shows that, in 2008, as many as 27,000 cell phones may have been used behind bars across the US, with each device typically shared among multiple inmates to make hundreds of calls. As stated in the hearing, several solutions have been tested in the US, including body orifice scanners, cell-phone sniffing dogs, and cell detection systems. Administrators of 28 state and local correctional systems have petitioned the federal government to allow them to use jamming - a technique prohibited by law - to address the problem, indicating that locating devices is not a sufficient solution. Evidence suggests that simply confiscating a cell phone is not enough; the critical component allowing communication on many phones is the subscriber identity module (SIM) card, which is the size of a postage stamp, can easily be removed from the phone, and can be used by an inmate on any compatible device.

Tecore's Managed Access solution is the most effective way to achieve the objectives of all stakeholders. The solution is based on the Intelligent Network Access Controller (iNAC), which serves as a unified gateway to all commercial cellular networks, and receives all call attempts made in the target area. iNAC captures information about the SIM card and device (including location and serial number), and originating and terminating telephone numbers. The system has three modes of operation:

* managed access, which allows authorized devices to complete calls on the commercial networks, holds communication from other devices, and maintains regulatory compliance with features such as 911;
* cell detection, which allows all calls to be completed on the commercial networks while capturing SIM, device and call information; and
* lockdown, in which no communications are allowed.

Additional features and benefits include:

* support for lawful intercept;
* robust physical security measures including isolated physical points of presence when operated on-site
* the option to receive iNAC as a centralized managed service.

The iNAC Managed Access system has been deployed in a correctional institution with dramatic results, including the initial detection of - and subsequent prevention of - thousands of calls per day.

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