The product’s designed to give users privacy and peace of mind, as well as a chance to disconnect. “The pocket functions effectively to protect your security, if your data is being tracked or monitored or if your location is being tracked or monitored,” says Adam Harvey, who designed the OFF Pocket in collaboration with Johanna Bloomfield. “But the other part of it, which I think is more interesting, is the psychological aspect; which, you’re placing your phone inside a bag that eliminates your connection with the phone.”
Inside the case, phones can’t send or receive signals across a range of frequencies used for communication. No signals, no data––meaning location’s untraceable and texts and calls don’t land.
Harvey’s OFF Pocket prototype debuted last year at January’s “Stealth Wear” exhibition (hosted by TANK Magazine and presented by Primitive London) along with his anti-drone garments. “The timing worked out well for the show because that was right around when drones became a daily news item,” he says. “And now it happens that I’m launching this product when cell phone tracking’s a daily news item.”
Lately, current events portray U.S. agencies less like Uncle Sam and more like Big Brother. “The recent news with the NSA, Edward Snowden, Verizon, XKeystroke and so on is only supporting––it’s providing a good argument for what people should have already been thinking about…in the last 12 years since the introduction of the Patriot Act, when we’ve been engaged in the dilemma of trading our privacy for security,” Harvey says. “Security is more important, but there is a limit. You can’t take that logic and scale it infinitely.”
“At some point people will want their privacy back and that’s what’s happening now,” he continues. “The problem is that you can’t simply ask for your privacy back.”
Harvey sees the OFF Pocket appealing to a wide audience, from middle-to-high school tweens and teens evading parents’ tracking to journalists, politicians and security industry employees. Its democratic applicability suits the Kickstarter platform well.
“This is what I see as a highly functional security or privacy product, and putting it on Kickstarter is offering it to anyone,” Harvey says. “And I think that’s important; that is, providing security, but anybody could buy it–– whether you’re a whistleblower at the NSA or you work at home and you need a break from your phone or you’re just concerned about security.”
With 11 days left, OFF Pocket’s already cleared its funding goal of $35,000 by $10,000. Its success might drive others to follow Harvey’s lead into privatized privacy.
“It’s also proving to people that there’s a market for privacy-type items,” Harvey says. “I think people are gonna see this and realize that hey, I’m onto something, and that’ll probably motivate other people to explore the business side to privacy.”