OFF Pocket Takes Your Phone Off the Grid (Sorry NSA)

off pocketI imagine every disinfonaut will be wanting one of these… Josh Dzieza reports on the OFF Pocket for Daily Beast:

Haute couture usually makes you stand out, but Adam Harvey and Johanna Bloomfield imagine a future where it can help you hide.

The newest item designed by Harvey, an artist with a background in mechanical engineering, and Bloomfield, a fashion designer, is called OFF Pocket, a metallic-fiber pouch designed to block all wireless signals to your phone. Bloomfield calls it a “privacy accessory.” For the next month, it will sit alongside other examples of counter surveillance chic from Harvey’s company, PRVCM, in a “privacy gift shop” at New York’s New Museum.

Harvey and Bloomfield’s first collaborative project, Stealth Wear, a line of futuristic looking streetwear that shields the wearer from thermal imaging cameras, debuted this January at the fashion boutique Primitive London. Stealth Wear was more of a “provocation” than a consumer fashion line, Harvey says, designed to make people aware of how invasive thermal imaging could be, and the sort of counter-measures that would be required to block it.

And provoke it did. It’s received extensive coverage since its debut, including a very positive report in Army Times. “They used our sexiest photo from the lookbook,” says Harvey. Recently, he was approached by a U.S. official–Harvey wouldn’t say what agency the official represented–who wanted to use photos of Harvey’s work in a classified document; the official wouldn’t say what the document was about. “That was the impetus behind this installation,” says Harvey. “I want the work I’m doing to be as accessible as possible, so I thought, what better way to do it than to make a gift shop.”

OFF Pocket is their most mainstream product so far. At $100, it’s more affordable than the $450 scarf on display at the gift shop (rainbow colored on one side, in the pallet of a thermal image, and heat-signature-masking metallic nylon on the other). Nor is it so unusual looking that it would make you stand out on the street while hiding you from surveillance. “We really envision the OFF Pocket as one of the most commercially available products,” says Bloomfield, imagining future collaborations with stores and artists, like the limited edition silver OFF Pocket on sale at the New Museum…

[continues at Daily Beast]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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  • Nicko Redthreat

    won’t this make your phone spend all of your battery looking for a signal?

  • Anarchy Pony

    Tell me when they have a thermactive camouflage poncho.

    • DonovanCagliero

      Don’t they, though?

      • Anarchy Pony

        Thermactive means both a thermal shield and an active camouflage to confuse the naked eye. Does not currently exist.

        • DonovanCagliero

          Not in THIS dimension, at least.

          • DeepCough

            Rather, not to anyone who isn’t a government cyborg.


    • The Well Dressed Man
  • Tchoutoye

    They used our sexiest photo from the lookbook

    I’m guessing they’re called lookbooks lest somebody confuses them with those confounded ignorebooks.

    At $100, it’s more affordable…

    Still a bit pricey for what a sheet of tinfoil can do as well.

  • kowalityjesus

    YES! low tech beats big brother…

  • The Well Dressed Man

    nifty. older generation smartphones freak out and run down their batteries trying to find a signal in rf isolation. will the newer phones native firmware compensate, or can an app modulate status fast enough to make this workable?

  • echar

    I am no expert on these matters, yet I believe removing the battery does the same thing.

    removing battery < $100

    *edited to add correct symbol.

    • The Well Dressed Man

      all of my current-generation portable electronics are hard-wired. it takes a steady hand, a good spudger, and a really good soldering gun to replace batteries now.

      • echar

        Android > Iphone


        • The Well Dressed Man

          many new droids are hard wired too :{

          • DonovanCagliero

            my nexus 4 is hard wired

          • echar

            Damn it!

    • kowalityjesus

      I am incapable of removing the battery on my phone, yet another facet of planned obsolescence. : (

    • Janet

      I think you mean: removing battery < $100

      (omg I am one of those people, ugh)

      • echar

        You are correct, and I like those people. Nothing wrong with being correct and politely letting others know they’ve made an error. Thank you.

  • X.
  • mopsyd

    They should make them laptop size also.

  • Haystack

    That’s a great idea, but wouldn’t it also prevent you from receiving calls? If so, that would seem to make it impractical for regular use.

    • gustave courbet

      Your calls will go strait to voicemail, and you can pick them up later. Its privacy or convenience in this case…

  • Rhoid Rager

    Or you could just not have a cell phone… and get your ass out of the city to grow some food or sumfin.

  • Juan

    I get that this device blocks signals, so that means it will obviously be useless when it’s in this pouch. I understand that smart phones can still be “bugged” or used to listen to conversations in their immediate proximity even when they are supposedly turned off. So, odes this mean that this device is only works when the phone is off? So you shut it off, put it in the little pouch and then it can’t be used to listen to you or track you. However the minute you pull it out and turn it on, then you’re the NSA’s bitch. What fucking good is that?

  • emperorreagan

    Hammers + electronics = fun.

  • DeepCough

    Technocratic Dystopian Chic. Absolutely FAB-U-LOUS!