The chaos around an intercepted cell phone signal at Thursday evening's State of The Nation Address has raised the question - what is a cellphone jamming device?
On 702's John Robbie Show, stand-in host Udo Carelse asked this question of Technobyte Host and EWN Trafficologist Aki Anastasiou who explained:
You'll be surprised how small it is; it's the size of a box of biscuits and it's got three aerials coming out of it and what it does is it just scrambles the signal between the cellphone tower sending signal to the cellphones, so it renders phones without signals, so you can't make or receive calls.
This is likely the device that Anastasiou is describing below:
However, given the size of the Parliamentary chamber where the Sona took place and the number of MPs, media practitioners and other invested stakeholders present, a larger device was more than likely used to achieve this.
Below is a desktop-version of a cellphone scrambler:
A video of how this desktop sized scrambler might work:
Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo has meanwhile confirmed that a signal interfering was switched on as part of security protocols in anticipation of the arrival of the President and the Deputy President. Mahlobo outlined the specifics on 702's John Robbie Show with Udo Carelse:
We want to indicate that we were part of securing the State of The Nation Address, as the Department of State Security Agency. Secondly, you must know that there is no executive or political decision that was given to interfere with the free flow of information. And, remember that there is no executive or politician that gets to do operation. We were given a mandate - as part of the National Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure, all the countries that secure all the events - to ensure that, in ensuring to apply all the aspects of securing the airspace, to ensure the transit of the political principals, ensure that nothing happens to them, which is the normal thing that happens for many presidents around the world. At a particular point, you will deploy any number of devices, whether it's military, whether it's police - one of the devices that was in operation on the day was supposed to be totally switched off, so it doesn't interfere with any signal. But in this case, there was a device that was on that interfered with the signal, which wasn't targeted at anyone.
This article first appeared on 702 : #SONA2015 Aftermath: what is a cellphone jamming device?