The OFF Pocket is the latest privacy accessory from the creator of the spy-drone blocking stealth hoodie. It’s a water-resistant metal-fabric pouch designed to hold a smartphone and block all wireless signals — cellular, wi-fi, GPS etc — so you’re no longer carrying a personal location tracker in your back pocket. The OFF Pocket Kickstarter project has impeccable timing, given ongoing revelations about mass government surveillance programmes. It remains to be seen what airport security will make of it however.
The OFF Pocket’s New York-based creators say the pouch beats other shielding alternatives such as sticking your phone in the fridge — a la Edward Snowden — or repurposing a cocktail shaker. It has a shielding score of over 100dB for frequencies between 800MHz and 2.4GHz. It’s also a better option than just turning a phone off which may not block all signals, plus not all phones let you remove the battery to kill traceability entirely. Add to that, turning a phone off and removing its battery takes time — versus just slipping the device in a fabric case.
This version of the OFF Pocket is actually the second-gen prototype, an earlier first run sold out after its debut in January. Its creators have since been spending their time making design improvements and doing additional field testing. They’re now seeking $35,000 in crowdfunding to get the second-gen accessory to market — and have raised just over a third of that with 22 days left to run on the campaign. The price per pocket is currently $85 or more, as all $75 early bird pledges have gone. The first batch of OFF Pockets is due to ship to backers in late September.
As noted earlier, the OFF Pocket is just one of a number of privacy accessories being cooked up to counteract increasingly overreaching technology-powered surveillance — including facial recognition thwarting glasses, and the aforementioned stealth hoodie which blocks the thermal radiation scanners used by spy drones.