Prison guards walking around correctional facilities who don't want to get caught checking for contraband cell phones now have a palm-sized friend on their side.
Berkeley Varitronics (News - Alert) Systems, Inc., a provider of advanced wireless solutions and products to the domestic and international wireless telecommunications industry, has released a smaller and less-expensive version of its signature Bloodhound (News - Alert) cell phone detector: the Wolfhound-Lite.
Wolfhound-Lite, the second in a line of BVS' advanced cell phone detection products, costs less than the original model -- $995 versus $1,800 -- and can be concealed in any pocket or worn on a belt clip like a wireless pager.
When Wolfhound-Lite vibrates, security and correctional professionals are alerted to nearby cell phone activity, according to BVS. The device runs on standard Lithium Ion rechargeable 9-volt batteries for up to eight hours, allowing security personnel to continuously scan for all cellular voice, text or data transmissions while keeping their eyes and hands free.
"It's like an oversize pager," Schober told TMCnet. "A couple of guys in the field who liked the Bloodhound said 'this would be awesome if you could shrink this down so we could have a stealthy version on our belts.' So if you're walking by, no one notices what you're wearing."
Schober told TMCnet BVS' customers "asked for this exact product and will be getting units within the next week or so."
Congress recently passed the Cell Phone (News - Alert) Contraband Act (S. 1749), which prohibits the possession or use of cell phones by Federal prisoners and stiffens penalties for violations of this rule.
The S.1749 bill, introduced in October by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), will enact strong measures to prevent inmates from using cell phones to commit crimes from inside prison walls, TMCnet reported.
Additionally, it closes a loophole in federal law by prohibiting the use or possession of cell phones and wireless devices in federal prisons, according to Feinstein representatives. Under the bill, anyone who provides, or attempts to provide, an inmate with a cell phone could face imprisonment of up to one year.
With the addition of the Wolfhound-Lite, enforcing this policy will be much easier, Schober said.
"The Wolfhound-Lite will allow correctional facilities to enforce an affordable NO CELL PHONE USE policy, since each security officer could potentially be equipped with a cell phone detecting watchdog," said Schober. "We believe secure facilities will come to depend on the Wolfhound-Lite to detect and confiscate the increasing number of contraband cell phones being smuggled in prisons that are not only used to threaten public safety, but also contribute to ongoing criminal activity."
Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.