In full disclosure, Mission Darkness sent me their Dry Shield Phone Sleeve to review. I am reviewing it from the perspective of a Faraday phone sleeve. The following opinions are my own, but I do have to say I’m a sucker for anything that improves personal privacy. We are being spied on and tracked like never before, and anything that helps the individual to take back what has rightfully been his all along (such as one’s privacy) is going to be something that I stand behind.
by Aden Tate, contributing writer
Special Note: If you shop Mission Darkness, be sure to use Coupon Code “SHTFBLOG” for an additional 5% off.
So to start with, who is this company?
About Mission Darkness
Mission Darkness makes a variety of Faraday cage products that are used to shield wireless devices from hacking, EMP attacks, tracking, and the like. Their customer base includes forensic investigators, clandestine operators, law enforcement, and those who value their privacy. They advertise their products as “radio frequency shielding solutions primarily for law enforcement and military forensic investigators, executive travel protection, harmful EMF reduction, and anti-hacking/anti-tracking protection.”
Important note: All of their products are certified MIL-STD-188-125 compliant. In technical terms, this means they meet the military’s standard for “high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) protection for ground-based C4I facilities performing critical, time-urgent missions for common long-haul/tactical communications systems.” In layman’s terms, this means “it’ll save your electronic equipment should we get hit with an EMP or solar flare.”
Furthermore, they state that their products are:
used by security-conscious individuals to protect against data theft and enhance digital privacy. When a device is placed inside of a bag or forensic enclosure, keyfob signals cannot be boosted, malicious apps cannot be remotely triggered, information cannot be wiped, unintentional communication is blocked, and the microphone, camera, and GPS location are unable to transmit.
The vast majority of their products are made right in the U.S.A. and the company is based in Santa Barbara, CA.
Specifications and First Thoughts
Straight out of the box, I really liked this bag. My phone fit in it fine provided I ensured that the phone hit the bottom of the bag. One quick shake would accomplish this every time. Even with my phone inside, I still had room to place my credit card and car key (with transponder) in there as well. Given that it is possible to hack a key fob and steal credit card information simply by being within the proximity of the target, I think the space provided from the Phone Dry Shield Sleeve was superb. It gave me options, which I appreciate. (The internal size is 7.5” x 4” x 5”, in case you were wondering.)
I tested my Baofeng UV-5R with the bag, and it fit well inside, provided I unscrewed the antenna first. I had the stock antenna that came with the UV-5R, and it did fit in the bag as well provided you were comfortable with their being a little bit of bend to the antenna and the tip of it resting where the magnets are that seal the bag.
Really though, a ham radio antenna is typically just a wire, and so there wouldn’t be any negative EMP effects to it if you didn’t keep it placed within a Faraday cage unless you had a specialized antenna with computer equipment in it. The rubber duck that comes with a UV-5R most certainly doesn’t have any of that, and so, I place it in my get-home box and my UV-5R nearby in the bag.
Unless you’re wearing a jacket, the bag isn’t going to fit in your pocket. I can easily slip it into my Carhart coat, but it won’t fit in my jeans pockets without being a little squished. Mission Darkness notes in their manual that the shielding capabilities can gradually diminish due to frequent abrasion, so I’d much rather put it in a jacket pocket with plenty of room than crammed in a jeans pocket with constant movement.
The exterior is waterproof as well, meaning that your device is going to be protected in more ways than one when you’re using the bag. I’ve spent a good portion of my time backpacking in the woods, and can attest to the fact that when backpacking, stuff gets wet. As a result, it’s absolutely vital that you have the appropriate protection to keep your electronics from being damaged if you’re traveling out through Mother Nature (e.g. bugging out). Though I doubt this bag could handle being fully submerged in a lake or stream, I do think that it would provide adequate protection from rainfall to keep your gear protected while out in the elements.
Testing the Dry Shield Phone Sleeve for Security
I threw everything at this that I could think of, and the MD Dry Shield Phone Sleeve passed every test with flying colors.
Texts and Email Test
One of the first tests I conducted was to see if I could receive texts and emails while my phone was in the bag. I tried this test on three different occasions, and every single time, nothing came through until a few moments after I’d removed my phone from the bag and my phone was able to reach service again. This was indicative of all cell signals being blocked while the phone was in the bag.
I then checked to see if this thing could block GPS tracking on my phone. For those of you that don’t know, unless you set your phone otherwise, it is always a personal tracker (and even then, it still is). I went into Settings>Privacy>Location Services>System Services>Significant Locations where all of my personal location data had been tracked for weeks without my realizing it (new phone, and I forgot to turn it off) to ensure that I had the GPS tracker up and running. I then placed my phone in the bag and made multiple trips around town for periods of at least half an hour, and came within a few hundred feet (and one time within 20 yards) of several cell towers along the way. When I got back home and took my phone out of the bag, and quickly checked “Significant Locations” I didn’t have a single bread crumb that had been dropped. It was then I knew that this thing could block GPS signals as well.
Running the Faraday Test App
Mission Darkness provides a free app called Faraday Test that can further verify that your bag is working correctly as well. I downloaded the app to my phone, turned it on, and then stuck my phone in the bag. I took my phone out 30 seconds later, and the test verified that all signals going to and from the phone had been completely blocked. Bluetooth, wifi, cell service – it had all been 100% blocked.
I am fully convinced that the Mission Darkness bag will provide complete anonymity while you are traveling about.
Dangers of EMF/RF
We know that electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) enhance free radical activity, are associated with oxidative damage, protein misfolding, DNA damage, immune system disruption, blood-brain barrier disruption, cellular distress signals, calcium channel problems, altered circadian rhythms, hormone issues, degraded cognition, degraded sleep, and degraded brainwave activity.1,2
We know that something like 85% of pregnant mothers may carry their cell phones in a bag or purse of some sort, and that immature nervous systems are extremely vulnerable to toxicants.3 Studies have shown that EMF exposure can negatively effect a pregnant mother’s immune system and that infection during pregnancy is a risk factor for autism.2 We know that sperm has no DNA repair capacity, and studies have shown that men who carry their phone in their pocket have altered sperm count, motility, viability, and structure.1 Studies have shown that there is a link between altered fetal brain development and cell phone exposure.2
We know that before 1980, the incidence of autism was 1/2000. As of 2013, it was around 1/100 (I’ve seen other studies that show the incidence being even greater than that). Epidemiological surveys support the idea that the increased incidence of autism originated in the early 80’s at the same time mobile phones came into popular use.4 Research into autism has debunked the theory that the increase in autism incidence is as a result of better diagnosing and wider testing. Autism rates are rising because autism is becoming more prevalent.2 It is theorized that the reason Silicon Valley has an incredibly high rate of autism is because of the neonatal exposure to EMF/radiofrequency radiation there.1
So while I’m not saying that EMF exposure is the root of all of humanity’s ills, I think that it is very clear that this is a potential problem. There are dozens of studies out there showing this. Look up the work of David Weisbrot, Tian-Yong Zhao, and Devra Lee Davis if you want to see even more.
Not only does EMF seem to have negative side effects on individual health, but it also appears as if it could negatively effect the health of babies inside the womb. There may be a link between EMF exposure and infertility. Think of the implications of all of this. Of what problems we could be facing as a direct result of our own actions.
If only there was some way that one could do something to limit one’s own exposure… like a Faraday phone sleeve, perhaps.
Now I’m most certainly not saying that Mission Darkness products are the cure to autism, cancer, or other health problems, but I am saying that they can help reduce unnecessary exposure to EMF. And after seeing the above studies, who can say that’s a bad thing?
Benefits of Anonymity
Like it or not, your phone is a personal tracking device watching your every move. Even if you turn off your phone’s GPS and other location tracking “services,” you can still be geolocated by having your phone on your person. Phones are constantly searching for a cell tower to connect to, and those towers keep a record of every phone that has reached out to connect with them. As a result of this, it’s possible to triangulate somebody’s position even when their GPS data is turned off.
Even if you turn your phone completely off, I’m still not convinced that there isn’t a reserve amount of battery power still causing your phone to transmit, or a backdoor in the code or hardware doing the same. If anything, the past 10 years have taught us that there are constant surprises with the privacy violations we’re seeing as a result of tech.
Once again, this is an area where MD products can help to protect you. As demonstrated through my tests, once your wireless product is safe within the inside of an MD product, absolutely nobody is going to be able to track you or steal your information utilizing that device.
Faraday Phone Sleeve Means EMP Protection
The Department of Homeland Security has recently released a memo that they are preparing for a pre-election potential of an EMP.5 That’s not to say that they’re predicting such to happen, but it does mean that there’s an apparent threat, and that they’re taking such seriously. Iran has recently announced that they can now hit United States’ soil with missiles.6
The point is that the threat of EMP is real. Ever since WW2, we have had weapons that are capable of wider destruction than at any other time in history. In Medieval times, people trained with pikes and other weapons to be prepared for the potential of invasion. During the late 1700s, Americans built their own private food larders to get them through the winter and possessed firearms to protect themselves from Indian attack and foreign invasion. My point is that throughout history mankind has done what it takes to protect himself from some of the biggest threat potentials to their own well-being. Why do we not continue to do the same? Why not do something to protect yourself a bit from such a weapon?
Of course, it is not just the effects of man-made attacks on our electronic infrastructure that we have to worry about. Solar flares, or coronal mass ejections, can have the same impact. The most notable event we have experienced in recorded history is the Carrington Event geomagnetic storm in 1859. Such an event in today’s time, where we are so reliant on electronic infrastructure, would have devastating effects.
This Faraday phone sleeve, and other MD products like it, may very well be something that you want to add to your car get-home kit to protect a handheld radio. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it can easily hold a UV-5R in your door side pocket and be forgotten about until you need it.
Mission Darkness Dry Shield Final Thoughts
I loved the Mission Darkness Dry Shield Phone Sleeve, and have already told plenty of my friend about it. These are most certainly products that both preppers and the security/privacy conscious individual should take a look at. This one single product provides both EMP protection, and privacy for all of $38.00. I think that’s a fantastic deal.
They have a whole pile of other Faraday-protection equipment, so be sure to check them out, and remember to use “SHTFBLOG” as a coupon code for additional savings at check out.
- Herbert M, Sage C. Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link – Part 1. Pathophysiology 20(2013): 191-209.
- Herbert M, Sage C. Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link part 2. Pathophysiology 20(2013): 211-234.
- Divan H, Kheifets L, Obel C, Olsen J. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phone use and behavioral problems in children. Epidemiology 19(4). 2008.
- Ahuja Y, Sharma S, Bahadur B. Autism: an epigenomic side-effect of excessive exposure to electromagnetic fields. International Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences. 5(4): 171-177. 2013.