While little good comes from the practice of war, over the last 100 years, the wars that the United States have fought have produced many technologies that have everyday applications for civilians. From the personal computer to the internet to the microwave, many of the amenities of modern life that we all take for granted are direct products of the Department of Defense looking for a better way to fight wars.
Many of these wartime inventions are things that we may not even be aware of. For example, every time we get on a jet airliner, we are traveling on a design that was 100-percent the product of government contracts. In fact, the first jet airliner, the Boeing 707, was heavily sourced from that company’s other famous plane, the B-52 strategic bomber.
This trend of war being the mother of useful American innovation has not abated to the present. Today, one of the most exciting new innovations to hit the prison industry is the Wireless Containment System, a product of prison communications services giant Securus Technologies.
The Wireless Containment System is a ready-to-go cellular interdiction and interception suite. Developed directly from a system known as Stingray, which was used to intercept enemy communications and pinpoint enemy operatives in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters, the Wireless Containment System is one of the most powerful civilian-approved anti-cellular applications that have ever been developed.
In fact, the WCS is so powerful that Securus has been tussling with the Federal Communications Commission over its deployment for the last few years. The FCC has voiced concerns that, should the system fall into the wrong hands, it could be severely abused in a number of ways that could seriously undermine the public safety.
Securus responded by a complete redesign of the system, creating a map-based feature that uses a combination of GPS technology and advanced radar-like ranging equipment to ensure that the device’s reach cannot extend beyond the prison grounds, potentially interfering with legitimate cellular traffic on the outside.
While the system has not yet gained full FCC approval for use at all of the nation’s carceral facilities, it has been approved for trial deployments at some of the more remote prisons across the American West. So far, the results are extremely promising, with corrections officers where the system has been deployed reporting that the rate of blocking unauthorized cellular calls is effectively 100 percent. Guards have also stated that the homing mechanism allows them to uncover the precise location of all contraband devices within the system’s operating radius, allowing for the immediate physical confiscation of any smuggled cell phone.
Securus estimates that the system will be approved for full deployment sometime in mid-2018 and that it will soon be installed across the nation.