Money Tech: The Blackout Pocket

Living & Spending
on February 26, 2014

International travelers and digital security gurus will love the latest development in tech-savvy clothing, courtesy of the minds at Scottevest. Recently introduced, the Blackout Pocket offers an armored pocket designed to protect digital devices like cell phones and microchipped credit cards and passports.

Some credit cards and passports utilize RFID technology, or Radio Frequency Identification as a “swipeless” mechanism for users to simply tap a card reader with their smart card. Blackout Pocket uses an RFID Armor that blocks signals from these cards and cellular devices to keep hackers from surreptitiously skimming the information or tracking the user.

The pocket comes in three different grades that are designed for the protection of different devices. Level I is designed for wallet, passport and credit card protections. “Anybody with a cell phone, passport, credit card, or other device has a chip in it. All US passports issued after 2006 do, and most credit cards issued within the last 2 years do,” said Scott Jordan, founder of Scottevest.

The Level II Blackout Pocket is designed with cell phones in mind. According to Jordan, even when a cell phone is turned off, it can still fall prey to tracking. In a video demonstration, Jordan places a ringing cell phone into the pocket, and it is off the cellular grid within three seconds. Customers interested in the next grade of pocket, the Level III, must be a member of law enforcement, government agencies or other special organizations.

When it comes to ultimate digital security, peace of mind comes at a cost of $20 for a Level I, and $40 for a Level II. After the recent NSA leaks, Jordan points to a rising concern about protecting personal information from threats realized and unrealized. According to Jordan, digital hacking and skimming are commonplace activities for criminals and government entities alike, particularly in European countries and even China.

“I frequently travel abroad and have known for some time that countries such as China and Russia have the ability to tap into phones and computers upon arrival, as recently witnessed in Sochi for the Winter Olympics,” said Jordan.

As more commonplace items gain digital and wireless components, Jordan seems to be alerting Americans to an entirely new set of personal security concerns. Blackout Pocket seems to be more relevant to the international traveler set, but it touches a nerve with an inherent mistrust many Americans harbor when it comes to technology unhindered. So is this new tech offering to be deemed Paranoia Pocket or Digital Knight in Shining Armor? We’ll check back when first quarter sales are released.

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