Phone jammers beat exam cheats

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The Independent Online

State-of-the-art mobile phone jamming equipment is being employed in Russia against a new target: cheating university students. The problem of students having exam answers texted to them, or even read out to them by an accomplice with a textbook, has become so serious that Russia's institutes of higher education are embracing technology dreamt up by the cream of the country's military industrial complex.

Universities are reluctant to reveal exactly what kind of jamming equipment they are using, or for how long they have done so, but say they are being forced to spend huge chunks of their meagre budgets on such hardware. When placed in certain areas mobile phone signals within a given radius are automatically blocked.

Russian academics say that merely telling students to switch off their mobiles or searching them before they enter the examination hall has simply not worked. The rector of the Urals State University in the city of Ekaterinburg, Boris Yeltsin's home town, says he was one of the first to install jamming devices in every examination hall, at a price of two million roubles (£39,000).

"Every year we come up against ingenuous students during the annual entrance exams who receive tip-offs on their mobile phones," Stanislav Naboichenko said.

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