With all the recent revelations about NSA’s long cyber reach and the (in)voluntary involvement of big Internet companies and US telecoms in its many surveillance programs, it’s not entirely surprising that a Kickstarter project offering a portable and usable Faraday cage for mobile devices has been successful.
A Faraday cage – for those who don’t know – is an enclosure that is padded with conducting material that prevents electromagnetic signals to reach inside it, and that includes radio waves. In short, if you put your smartphone inside it, no voice, data, SMS, and GPS signal will reach it or can be sent from it, making it digitally untrackable.
The name of the project and the product whose manufacturing it’s trying to kickstart is OFF Pocket, and this “privacy accessory” is extremely easy to use: simply put your phone inside it and close it.
“The OFF Pocket has been tested on all major networks, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. It is compatible with mobile phone hardware including iPhones, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, BlackBerrys, Nokia and all other modern phone hardware and operating systems,” the developers claim, but it naturally works in other countries and other carriers as well.
It blocks cellular signals, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, CDMA/GSM/DCS/PHS/3G/4G, NFC, but not all RFID signals.
After many iterations and prototypes, they managed to find a good balance between performance and usability, and they say that the OFF Pocket outperforms law-enforcement grade forensic bags and military specification Faraday products.
“The OFF Pocket provides you with a physical barrier between your phone and the outside world,” they explain, adding that not all phones can be turned completely off or even have their batter removed and thus guaranteeing the untrackability of its owner.
Another positive side effect it is that you won’t receive any calls or texts for as long as you keep the phone in it, and this may be a welcome respite from your phone addiction.
The project has already reached its initial goal, and with 24 more days to go until the end of the funding period, it will likely reach the next two, which will include and interactive sizing feature and an OFF Pocket phone app for iOS and Android.