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Global Terror Via Prison Cell Phones?

According to this article from India, satellite phones smuggled into prisons are being used by imprisoned terrorists there. These mobile phones bypass the traditional wireless carriers that cell phones utilize and are therefore much harder to track and jam.

Global terror has spread its tentacles into the prisons of Kerala, which with its sobriquet of God’s Own Country used to be a state known for peace and communal harmony till some years back, if the contents of a report submitted to the State Government by the Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) are any indication.

The report presented by ADGP Alexander Jacob to the Government contains enough information to believe that serious developments affecting national security have been taking place in the State’s prisons recently. The ADGP has called for immediate remedial measures to ensure that terror does not get a foothold in Kerala’s jails.

Analyses of call details of some of the 120 mobile phones confiscated from various prisons in the State have shown that prisoners have been in contact with people outside India, even in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Even satellite phones had come into play in this development, says the ADGP’s report.

The Prisons authorities had come across the shocking information from the analyses provided by the High-Tech Cell of the police on over 3,500 calls made from or into 29 of the 120 phones based in the prisons. Another alarming fact is that some of the callers had used costly satellite phones that evaded the mobile switching towers.

According to the report, records of prisons-stationed phones showed that there had been history of using 18-character numbers constituted of digits and alphabets proving involvement of satellite phones. Calls had also been made between mobiles in Kerala prisons and numbers stationed obviously in the US.

Experts say that the finding on the use of satellite phones is extremely crucial considering the fact that such communication means had been used for the Mumbai terror strike. According to them, such phones could have been used most probably for terror operations as ordinary people could not afford such instruments that cost lakhs of rupees.

The ADGP’s report says that calls from 5-digit numbers were seen to have been diverted to phones stationed probably in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Somalia. Records of calls from 4-digit numbers —Internet telephony — also were found in the analyses. According to experts, such calls could be used even to detonate bombs connected through remote-operation technology.

It has also been found that the prison-stationed mobiles had received calls from 6-digit and 8-digit numbers which obviously were not from cell phones in the country, the report says.

Records of thousands of calls made from the remaining 91 phones confiscated from Kerala jails are yet to be analysed.