Mobile phones designed to look like car key fobs may be banned in the UK, with officials concerned about their safety and illegal presence in prisons.
The devices, which are being made in China, have been seen attached to adverts showing prisoners, with one of the miniature mobiles boasting on Amazon of its ‘very low metal contact […] due to metal content alarm’ and another claiming to be ‘easily concealable’.
The apparent focus of such adverts on the phones’ use in prison has officials concerned, with one prison service spokesman telling the BBC that it was increasing efforts to detect any such devices, with the number of recorded seisures increasing.
Mobile phones are not allowed in prisons, with 7,000 phones and SIM cards confiscated in 2012.
Many of the phones use their similarity in shape and size to car key fobs to capitalise on peoples’ interest, displaying well-known logos of car manufacturers, the use of which the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders believes to be illegal.
In addition to the questionable legality of the phones’ design, the UK’s National Trading Standards Board has also said that the devices were very likely to be ‘unsafe’, as they were not tested, and could catch fire or electrocute users, leading the NTSB to urge people not to buy them.