March 30, 2017

Jamie Barnett interviewed by WCPO on FCC notice combating contraband cell phones in prisons

2 min

Venable partner Jamie Barnett was interviewed by WCPO in Cincinnati on March 30, 2017, following new rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowing Cell Command to line up industry support for its Cell Warden product that uses beacon system technology to shut down cell phones in restricted areas. The product is being targeted towards prisons in an effort to combat the use of contraband cell phones by inmates who use them organize drug deals, plan escapes, and threaten witnesses.

Barnett, who represents Cell Command, said the FCC's specific inclusion of beacon-based technology is a big win for the company. "It's hard to give percentages" on their chances of success, he said. "But if you had a bake off, they would win. They've already done the testing. Nobody is going to stack up to them with regard to the technology, its effectiveness and the cost."

According to Barnett, the FCC has been grappling with how to address contraband cell phones in prisons for years. "Obviously, their technology has snagged the interest of the technology people in the FCC," he said. "They specifically ask about beacon systems. I think that's huge." He added that the FCC's move is a chance for Cell Command to prove their technology is the solution.