back to article Foil snack food bags make a decent Faraday cage, judge finds

An Australian electrician has failed in an effort to regain his job after a judge ruled he hid a work-issued GPS-equipped PDA in a foil snack food bag to avoid being tracked. Mr Tom Colella claimed he was unfairly dismissed from his job as an electrician, after someone ratted him out to the boss for playing golf during working …

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  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Colella is now an Uber driver...

    Good luck putting a foil bag over the car !

    1. Tikimon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Colella is now an Uber driver...

      That sentence seems rather harsh.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Colella is now an Uber driver...

        Hey if you can't do the time then don't do the crime

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Works for Uber now'...

      In the well paid Greyball and Waymo intrusion section...

  2. jake Silver badge

    "They're a lot like Cheetohs. Only better."

    Something to be avoided, then? Ta for the advice.

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: "They're a lot like Cheetohs. Only better."

      Twisties? Cheetohs?

      Kneel before our Wotsits, Colonies!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: "They're a lot like Cheetohs. Only better."

        Sure, kneel before the Wotsits. But only in order to pray for thanksgiving that better snack foods are available - that don't turn your hands, mouth and insides radioactive yellow.

        Surely the Quaver is the better choice of crap "cheesy" crispy thing here? Although I think I'd prefer a pickled onion Monster Munch right now.

        So many yummy crisps, so little time.

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: "They're a lot like Cheetohs. Only better."

          Just avoid the Scampi Nik Nak's the smell doesn't leave your fingers for ages. Even after the first time you wash your hands it lingers on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "They're a lot like Cheetohs. Only better."

            @Scampi Nik Nak's

            Yeah that's what she said

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "They're a lot like Cheetohs. Only better."

            "the smell doesn't leave your fingers for ages. Even after the first time you wash your hands it lingers on."

            I used to have a girlfriend like that.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's food for thought.

  4. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Faraday

    Being a surname Faraday should be capitalised. Have some respek

    1. John Arthur

      Re: Faraday

      and it should have three 'a's

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Faraday

        and it should have three 'a's

        Faaarady?

        No - that doesn't work..

      2. Gustavo Fring
        Coat

        Re: Faraday

        Aye, aye, ...aye (said in a Scottish accent)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anybody actually tested this?

    In theory it could work, but I'd be surprised if doing this would actually stop a cellular device working, particularly if you weren't going the extra mile and sealing the edges with conductive tape,

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

      Er... it'll work just fine.

      Just twist the top closed.

      Hell, you can try it yourself with your phone or any other device.

      A thin layer or metal in all but one direction will cut all the radio transmissions except in that direction. No GPS sats in that direction (i.e. pointing along the road)? No GPS triangulation. No cell tower? No cell signal.

      It's entirely feasible, easily tested, and quite effective.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

        Hell, you can try it yourself with your phone or any other device.

        I would have, but I didn't have a crisp packet big enough to contain a 5.5 inch phone and twist the top shut.

        1. david bates

          Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

          A shiny anti-static bag will do just as well. Just fold the top over.

          1. VinceH Silver badge

            Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

            Or just use two foil crisp packets overlapped - one over the top, one over the bottom.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

              I'll let you mix your phone with the gease, salt and food particles....

              1. Steve K Silver badge

                Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

                mix your phone with the gease

                It would probably fly North for winter if you did that? That would confuse the GPS tracking until Spring.

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

                  It would probably fly North for winter if you did that?

                  Unless they are Canada Geese. They fly south for the winter (as their abundant presence in our local park can attest).

                  And they pretty quickly work out that people standing by the lake with plastic bags means food. I try and tell the geese that bread is bad for them but they don't seem to care.

              2. VinceH Silver badge

                Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

                "I'll let you mix your phone with the gease, salt and food particles...."

                Not a problem. Put the phone in something else before it goes in the crisp packets. A (clean) sandwich bag will do the trick.

              3. Glenturret Single Malt

                Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

                I'll let you mix your phone with the gease, salt and food particles....

                Turn the bags inside out!!

          2. Mage Silver badge

            anti-static bag will do just as well

            Some will block RF. Just as some energy saving coatings on windows do, or some flat screens have a transparent RF blocking layer, otherwise RF inference from them is dreadful.

        2. shedied

          Re: Has anybody actually tested this?

          I believe you have to munch on those thingies inside, before putting your phone in there. Or get a bag of those kettle-baked (and nongreasy) Lays potato chips.

  6. Huw D

    Cheetohs?

    a) I think it's Cheetos.

    b) Wotsits or GTFO.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cheetohs?

      You beat me to it Huw, have a thumbs up.

      'A bit like Cheetos' indeed.

      1. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Re: Cheetohs? @Dabooka

        Don't you mean crumbs up?

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Cheetohs?

      @ Huw D

      Chester is grateful...

    3. elDog Silver badge

      Re: Cheetohs?

      In the fine ole USofA we spell it DrumpOs. Orange on the outside, grease and gook on the inside. Oh, so good - especially when you're starved for reality.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I converted a shed into a garden office, insulated with celotex (insulation with foil on both sides), then wondered why the wi-fi reception was bad then remembered Faraday. Installed a powerline hot-spot.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Wonder how that affected e.g. Grenfell?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Not "Grenfell the disaster" but "Grenfell" as in a large tower block that was suddenly covered in aluminium sheeting supported by a steel skeleton.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      D'oh!

      Years ago I lined my loft with a foil insulator, somehow completely ignoring the TV aerial strung between two beams.

      There have been very few days when I have felt more stupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yummy AC

      so now you've become a microwaved entree? viz. http://www.emfnews.org/Car-Radiation-Cell-Phones-Faraday-Cage-and-Cancer.html and https://www.electricsense.com/148/could-the-emfs-in-your-car-kill-you/ 'To deal with this issue you need to measure the EMFs in you car [shed'. A multi-function EMF meter will enable you to measure the magnetic fields and RF radiation in your car and indeed in your home.'

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    Colella is now an Uber driver.

    Seems like he's finally found a good fit for a Company - neither one of them likes playing by the rules, both of them do whatever they can to get around the rules, they both prefer going to Court/Tribunals instead of facing up to what they did, and then both get a good smack down from said Court/Tribunal when it all comes out in the wash..

    Maybe we're looking at Uber's next CEO. He's certainly got the work ethics right...

  9. philthane

    tags?

    Have any naughty boys tried wrapping their ankle tags in crisp packets yet?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: tags?

      If it was programmed with any kind of sensible logic, loss of signal would be the same as removal of the tag.

      Otherwise just running out of range would stop it working properly.

      Tags are only really used to constrain you to a certain area (e.g. your home), so they have the opportunity to make sure the signal is fine for that purpose and that any drops can only really be attributable to tampering or obscuring the signal.

    2. Olafthemighty

      Re: tags?

      Yup - crisp packets, cool bags, bathtubs - you name it! Signal loss does count as a possible violation and requires a visit from a bloke with a huge aerial on his company car.

    3. SImon Hobson Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: tags?

      Have any naughty boys tried wrapping their ankle tags in crisp packets yet?

      You may find some of these posts of interest.

  10. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Phone in microwave oven

    If you put your phone in a microwave then dial the phone's number it will ring. Makes you wonder how good the oven shielding is. Should be obvious but warning anyway: if you try this yourself at home do not power on the microwave oven during your test.

    1. Andytug

      Re: Phone in microwave oven

      Think the oven shielding is tuned to match the frequency the oven uses, so any other frequency would probably get through.

      Most microwaves are a solid metal case on three sides anyway so you'd have to be lucky and the mast be facing the 4th side?

      Or....you're just trying to make people stick their phones in the microwave for the lulz, as a certain percentage may accidentally switch it on....

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Most microwaves are a solid metal case on three sides

        Shielded on SIX sides. There is a RF porous window that blocks damp that has the Magnetron cavity behind it. The shielding isn't tuned, but will have an upper limit.

        The holes at the lamp and the door screen will block 3GHz and lower frequencies at least, maybe as high as 5GHz.

        I've not tried a phone or a wifi device. The shielding is not perfect (I've tested leakage out), so perhaps if there is a very strong mobile signal it will work.

        1. shedied

          Re: Most microwaves are a solid metal case on three sides

          My co-workers said Put some gingko leaves around the microwave to keep little bugs out. We even have the leaves in a little plastic tray beside the oven, which is kept inside a kitchen cabinet. After several days, the bugs seemed oblivious of those leaves, which were very effective elsewhere.

          I've deduced that the shielding on the microwave works -- and the bugs have NOT found the hole with the lamp but they DID figure out that the hole where the spindle goes in can protect them effectively against Mother Nature's gingko-leaf deterrent. I told my co-workers that the bugs are PROOF that there is no radiation leak from the microwave to worry about -- and that the bugs are quite safe in their hidey-hole. Put as much leaves as you want, puny humans. We'll be here, all nice and warm and immune from those so-called 'death rays.'

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Phone in microwave oven

        :you're just trying to make people stick their phones in the microwave for the lulz, as a certain percentage may accidentally switch it on...."

        The scary part would be the lot that would dial the phone number on the microwave buttons................

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Phone in microwave oven

          Did people REALLY drill holes in iPhones?

          1. Uffish

            Re: Phone in microwave oven

            The earlier commenter is right, the slight gap around the door on a kitchen microwave lets RF energy in and out with relatively little attenuation except at the operating frequency of the microwave. Wideband shielding would be too expensive and is not needed for safety.

            If you mangle the microwave door edges you risk microwaving your eyeballs and other parts but phone reception in the microwave will not be much affected..

  11. TRT Silver badge

    Problem not bunking off...

    He went playing golf. And THAT is an activity reserved for management. Inappropriate aspirations.

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