How smuggled mobile phones are rewiring Brazil’s prisons


It’s easy (for me) to become discouraged about the surveillance state the US (and lots of other countries) has become. How can you resist an entity like the NSA? Perhaps, in the long run, we cannot. But in a twisted way, stories like the one below give me hope.

In Cell to Cell: How Smuggled Mobile Phones Are Rewiring Brazil’s Prisons, Jonathan Franklin describes how Brazil’s prison gangs are using technology.

Wired prisoners change the entire concept of incarceration. Instead of being isolated and punished, the inmate with access to a cell can organize murders, threaten witnesses, plan crimes, and browse online porn to figure out which escort to order up for the next intimate visit. […] Brazilian organized crime leaders continued to have widespread ability to make calls, receive calls, organize conference calls, and even hold virtual trials where gang leaders from different prisons are patched in to a central line to debate the fate of gang members accused of betraying the group’s ironclad rules.

Yes, I get that the gangs are committing awful crimes. But then, so are oppressive governments. We can talk about Right and Wrong at Sunday School, this is about technology.