Philippines warns of mobile phone jammers ahead of elections

Philippines warns of mobile phone jammers ahead of elections

Summary: Ahead of country's general elections 2013 in May where votes are transmitted via mobile phones, authorities urge the public to look out for jammers which can delay transmission and affect results' credibility.

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The Philippines on Thursday, cautioned the public against mobile phone signal jammers which may disrupt the elections on May 13, 2013, by disrupting the transmission of results.

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Losing candidates may use mobile phone jammers to disrupt transmission of election results, authorities warned.

Among the authorities who gave the warning were the Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes, interior secretary Manuel Roxas II, and other officials of the country's National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Phil Star reported on Friday.

The Philippines General Elections will utilize the service of telecommunication companies in transmitting the counted votes in the polling precincts to the designated canvassing centers after the elections, the report noted.

The Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) has also been activated within the Philippines National Police (PNP), to go after sellers of signal jammers, while the PNP, especially its intelligence units nationwide have been urged to monitor suspected users of phone jammers, Roxas said.

On Friday, the ACG announced the arrest of a businessman and three of his employees in the city of Caloocan for selling signal jammers on the Web site www.sulit.com after receiving information fron citizens, according to a separate report by Phil Star.

Jammers stop phone, Internet signals, delay vote count transmission

According to Brillantes, signal jammers can delay the transmission of vote counts. This will eventually trigger speculation, raise questions about the results and delay the proclaimation of winners, he said.

"Delays in transmission could lead to question the credibility of the elections," he said.

A mobile phone signal jammer can stop phones or Internet connections within a radius of 10 to 20 meters from sending or receiving signals from mobile phone transmission towers, while larger jammers are more powerful and have a range measuring in kilometers.

Some jammers can fit in a pocket or a pack of cigarettes and are easy to hide, while others appear to look like Wi-Fi routers and have four antennas, Roxas added.

Losing candidates are also likely to use signal jammers so winning candidates along with the public must be vigilant and seek police assistance to confiscate these devices, Roxas noted.

Topics: Security, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • Signal Jammers have legitimate uses

    Just because it's election season, it shouldn't mean that signal jammers are illegal. They are mostly used in places where use of mobile phones is restricted such as theaters. To prevent election fraud, why not use sneakernet? Airwave transmissions can be hacked and corrupted with other tools aside from the signal jammer.
    triadwarfare