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#287229 - 11/29/17 06:53 PM Innovative Faraday Cage
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1325
Australian man uses snack bags as Faraday cage to block tracking by employer

A 60-year-old electrician in Perth, Western Australia had his termination upheld by a labor grievance commission when it was determined he had been abusing his position and technical knowledge to squeeze in some recreation during working hours. Tom Colella used mylar snack bags to block GPS tracking via his employer-assigned personal digital assistant to go out to play a round of golf—more than 140 times—while he reported he was offsite performing repairs.

https://arstechnica.com/information-tech...ng-by-employer/
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#287230 - 11/29/17 07:10 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: Teslinhiker]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1173
Loc: North Carolina
There is always a way to get around the system. He sounds like a long term Specialist Four in the Army.

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#287231 - 11/29/17 08:14 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: Teslinhiker]
Tjin Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1706
There are signal blocking phone sleeves, like off the shelf from stores. Wouldnt call it innovative.
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#287232 - 11/29/17 08:26 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: Teslinhiker]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4624
Loc: SOCAL
Quote:
...Colella's managers were aware that he kept his PDA wrapped in a snack bag. In his decision, Riordan wrote, "Mr. Colella’s supervisors knew that he placed his PDA in the foil bag and... should have known the effect that this action would have on the PDA device." Riordan expressed confusion over why Aroona managers condoned the behavior...
So we know he wasn’t discrete. If you are going to use a covert method of disabling your tracking device by blocking the GPS signal using off-the-shelf mylar snack bags, the least you can do is to be discrete so that it isn’t obvious when you drop the tracker in the bag. Poor headwork if he really wanted to keep that job.

From what I’ve been reading, Uber will soon replace him with an autonomous vehicle so that job won’t last long either.

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#287234 - 11/29/17 08:35 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6085
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Montanero
There is always a way to get around the system. He sounds like a long term Specialist Four in the Army.


Hey, I resemble that remark! - I was a Spec 4 back in the day (although very short term)...
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#287236 - 11/29/17 11:34 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: Montanero]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1943
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Montanero
There is always a way to get around the system.

Reminds me of a system I designed for our electronics manufacturing factory many years ago. It would track product as it wound it's way through the build process, based on serial number, which we captured with scanners placed along conveyor belts. This would verify things like, "if a product fails a test, it must subsequently go to a repair station, and then retest successful". It would also capture things like what time a specific serial number went through a solder bath, and correlated that with the bath temperature, so we could yank suspect product from the line if something went wrong. And we could tie component batches to insertion machines to serial numbered product if we had gotten a bad batch of components. We could stop the conveyor belts too, if the system determined a need.

This all worked like a champ, until we had a fire in a solder bath because my software had stopped the conveyor while a product was being dunked. That shouldn't have happened, because from our scanners the software knew if there was product in the solder bath or not.

Well, ... someone had set work gloves over a couple of scanners because they were tired of us catching all their quality mistakes and they wanted to stealthily pass stuff through the system to meet their shipping goals - but obviously not their quality goals! They would have been caught at the end anyway - but they didn't realize that - since the software would have questioned the wisdom of shipping product that had not been soldered together yet.

There's always a way! I about near tied the rogue worker to the conveyor belt and sent HIM through the solder bath when I found out. The idiot was smart enough to use the gloves to bypass our system, but not smart enough to REMOVE the gloves before we came out to investigate!

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#287242 - 11/30/17 03:49 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: haertig]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 950
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: haertig
I about near tied the rogue worker to the conveyor belt and sent HIM through the solder bath when I found out. The idiot was smart enough to use the gloves to bypass our system, but not smart enough to REMOVE the gloves before we came out to investigate!

That´s a tad unfriendly. A little education and some empathy go a long way. That works fine with my users.
A user of one of my applications called me to complain about some vanished records from a database that her boss required from her for a meeting. Nobody knew how the records vanished. I expressed my sympathy for her situation and educated her about some really cool skills of mine (I am a magician and mentalist). I performed a mind reading illusion over the phone. She immediately showed some sympathy for me. That caused a sudden memory improvement from "I do not recall deleting those records five minutes ago" to "I can remember events dating back to previous lives including accidently deleting those records". I produced the missing records and neither the user nor colleagues from her department tried to complain about results of their action since. They even volunteered information about their last actions preceeding unexpected program behaviour.
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#287243 - 11/30/17 05:11 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: Teslinhiker]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2211
Would a simple, foil insulated lunch bag suffice?

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#287245 - 11/30/17 06:40 PM Re: Innovative Faraday Cage [Re: TeacherRO]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4624
Loc: SOCAL
That should be better since the oil and salt from a chip bag would be not so good for electronics. These insulated sandwich bags (I have a few) are plastic lined and appear to have an aluminized exterior.

Test 1: Put my iPhone in said bag while it was connected to a cell signal (2 bars) from outside and then I called the phone. The iPhone lost the 2 bar signal, so it started searching and finally found my network extender at which point it had 4 bars and the call went through on the final ring before it kicked over to voice mail. So the bag alone seems to block weak incoming cell signals, but not strong signals.

As for GPS, I placed my Garmin Oregon 600 in the same bag and left it outside long enough that it should have had a solid location and after 5 minutes it still had trouble locating satellites (zero satellites showing). Outside the bag but inside the house under a steel roof, the Oregon GPS took a few minutes to find 4 satellites; in 30 seconds back outside it had 9 satellites. Normally this receiver locates satellites and determines its location to within 20’ very quickly even from a cold start, so I’d say the bag was successful at blocking GPS.

Bottom line: the bag alone seems to work for weak cell signals and GPS, but not for strong cell signals. Next test will be to redo the strong cell signal with a layer of bubble wrap between the bag and an outer layer of aluminum foil. Film at 11.

For the record, no affiliation with any company named other than as a customer. The sandwich bags were purchased for my lunch.

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