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'OFF Pocket' anti-tracking mobile phone device: Who made it, when, how and why

The OFF Pocket design and product stages included a pants "OFF Pocket" wearable version first, with the left pocket lined with surveillance deflected material for when you wanted mobile phone tracing "off".
The OFF Pocket design and product stages included a pants "OFF Pocket" wearable version first, with the left pocket lined with surveillance deflected material for when you wanted mobile phone tracing "off".
Adam Harvey projects.com

Stop government tracking and intrusions into your mobile phone device by using the "OFF Pocket" anti-tracking mobile phone pouch by privacy and countersurveillance technology designer Adam Harvey. It is selling for $80, if you can find it. MSN Video reported on Jan. 13 that Harvey's new product could help you go off the grid in digital cameo. But they warned that "If you can't get your hands on one [you should], just try and obey the law."

Deflect surveillance of you and your mobile phone with OFF Pocket by Adam Harvey.
Adam Harvey

The way the new anti-tracking mobile phone device works is quite simple. You slip your iPhone 3Gs--or other smartphone--into what looks like an ordinary metal grey fabric reflective phone pouch when you want to be sure no one can trace your movements with GPS, nor hear your communications via your mobile phone speaker.

"OFF Pocket" was birthed in 2011, and it is just the latest invention by the designer who is also credited with also creating a tool to scramble facial recognition software, which is another electronic method used by law enforcement to help them catch criminals. Of course facial recognition software is also used by businesses and the military to aid them in controlling access to high-security facilities, and also used in other nonthreatening ways.

Like most other technology developments before it, this particular mobile phone pouch came about out of necessity, as Adam Harvey wanted to personally be off-the-grid electronically at times. Why he wanted to not be found (or eavesdropped on) is the great mystery, as he has no known criminal record and he doesn't work in national security. But an article today in Politico.com emphasizes that when it comes to the controversial topic of the NSA and the right balance between American citizens' civil liberties and national security concerns, a lot of people are worried about phone call surveillance.

But design work and many other fields, like nuclear research, for example, can also be highly competitive, making it important that the least number of ways anyone can find or contact you (or trace your movements and eavesdrop on your conversations), the better.

Using "OFF Pocket" is not illegal. It does not cause complications with your cellular phone service, either, since it isn't doing anything more than what you would experience if you were out of range of a cellular tower. But that does mean that it could cause your battery to go down in strength faster than normal, since it continues to search for cellular service as if you were out of service range.

Removing your mobile phone from the metal fabric pouch instantly makes your phone usable again and within the range of available cell towers, just like before. But you may have to recharge your battery if it died during the period it was in the off-pocket mode. But what if an electrical outlet isn't nearby or convenient to find?

There is also the drawback that schools, police and emergency personnel will not be able to locate you in the event of an emergency with your child or spouse while you are using "OFF Pocket". And if the battery is dead from your use and you end up having an emergency immediately afterward yourself, like due to a mugging or carjacking by a criminal, then you will be the one to suffer from using the product.

WiFi, cellular signals and GPS tracking concerns enough people that it is expected this new anti-tracking mobile phone metal fabric sleeve will gain in popularity. And MSN reports that given that the Kickstart campaign earned double funding for this project, there must be a lot of paranoid people out there to support such a device.

Harvey says on his ahprojects.com Web site that the privacy case for mobile phones is 100 percent effective and that he tested it with decible signal meter as well as having himself and friends walk around New York using it. To pick up one for yourself visit the Privacy Gift Shop.