This is straight out of the GTA handbook! Nay, in fact, it's way off the GTA handbook hook. Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) made a serious allegation against the Prison Service in UK that crime empires are being run straight from within the prison walls -- via Sony's PlayStation consoles.
And the announcement was made even more less flattering as it was made at the launch of the annual report of the Agency, without at least a caveat to the prison chiefs in attendance. According to their report, organized crime bosses were using Internet games to send out their orders to their men in the prison. Nifty, huh?
You know what gadgets are capable of connecting to the Internet: mobile phones and -- there's the rub -- gaming consoles, ie. the PlayStation. Said Director-General of SOCA, Bill Hughes:
We know that one of the issues is that if you are locked up, how do you communicate with others? And we have been highlighting the fact that it is not always with mobile telephones.
There is other technology used -- people are using PlayStations to charge their mobile phones and are playing games interactively with others, so are able to communicate with them.
The Prison Service is concerned that prisoners are using interactive games to talk to people outside the prison. Communication is the new name of the game and criminals are looking to exploit new technologies. Prisoners have rights and they have access to the Internet. Some new prison guards are also being used without knowing it, but they soon become streetwise.
Of course, if this kind of statement was made at an official function where you are supposed to be a guest, and is specifically pointed at you, I doubt you would have enjoyed the rest of that seafood buffet either.
A spokesperson for the Prison Service later on sent out a statement:
Prisoners have never been allowed access to wireless enabled technology such as that used in some games consoles. Nor would they ever be allowed access to such technology.
A decision was taken some years ago that the then-current generation of games consoles should be barred because the capability to send or receive radio signals is an integral part of the equipment.
I do remember that last bit there. This was made sometime in March of 2007.
It is also reported that the Director-General for Prison Service, Phil Wheatley, had a phone conversation with Hughes, and that he received an apology for his remarks. As of last night, however, SOCA maintains that it is standing by its intelligence that prisoners were indeed using PlayStation consoles to transmit messages to their fellows outside.
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