The problem in exam situations is well known. The use of unauthorized aids such as cell phones, smartphones, tablets, wearables or the like is considered an attempt at deception in exam situations.
For some time now, the auditors have seen more and more remedies through the use of so-called cell phone jammers.
The offer now ranges from pure “cell phone indicators” to active jammers and intelligent IMSI catchers, which force a change to a new GSM cell and also record personal data in the wireless network area.
The Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs of Baden-Württemberg has issued a statement on this and clearly regulated the use of such devices:
The use of a device that completely prevents cell phone reception by emitting its own radio waves (“blocker”) is legally inadmissible from the point of view of the Ministry of Education, regardless of a data protection check. Because in the GSM frequency ranges only the mobile network operator has the right to use the frequencies he has bought and thus also to operate a mobile phone blocker.
The operation of a cell phone jammer by third parties is a frequency use without frequency allocation and is prohibited in accordance with Section 149, Paragraph 1, Item 10 TKG. No frequency allocation is required for the use of cell phone blockers “if they are used by authorities to exercise legal powers in compliance with the frequency usage conditions set by the Federal Network Agency”. There is insufficient legal basis for use in a school context.
The use of devices through which messages are listened to or recorded is also legally inadmissible and punishable because of a violation of telecommunications secrecy (Section 88 TKG).
The use of devices that scan certain frequency ranges and that only indicate, without specific position determination, that there is a connected mobile device in a room, is permissible under data protection law from the point of view of the Ministry of Education, as no personal data is processed.
However, the question arises whether the use of such a device is sensible or useful and therefore necessary. In state schools in Baden-Württemberg, even taking a cell phone with you is an act of deception due to the special regulations that apply to it. Since the effect of such a device can easily be bypassed, for example, if the cell phone is switched to flight mode, a scanner would fail to serve its purpose in examination situations. In this case the frequency meter could not detect the device; but this would still be illegally carried with you, which in turn represents an act of deception.