Australian man uses snack bags as Faraday cage to block tracking by employer

 In australia, Biz & IT, faraday cage, GPS, gps blocking, Workplace privacy, workplace surveillance

Australian man uses snack bags as Faraday cage to block tracking by employer

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Dump out your snacks, block your boss’ tracker. (credit: Doctorhawkes – camera, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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.

In his finding against Colella, Australia Fair Work Commissioner Bernie Riordan wrote:

I have taken into account that Mr Colella openly stored his PDA device in an empty foil “Twisties” bag. As an experienced electrician, Mr Colella knew that this bag would work as a farady cage, thereby preventing the PDA from working properly—especially the provision of regular GPS co-ordinate updates… Mr. Colella went out of his way to hide his whereabouts. He was concerned about Aroona tracking him when the Company introduced the PDA into the workplace. He protested about Aroona having this information at that time. Mr Colella then went out of his way to inhibit the functionality of the PDA by placing it in a foil bag to create a faraday cage.

Colella, an employee of the Western Australia water management joint venture Aroona Alliance, fashioned empty foil packets of Smith’s Twisties into crude Faraday cages, blocking the signals from GPS satellites as he ducked out to the links. Snack packets are made with a foil that combines aluminum and mylar plastic, making them electrically conductive and ideal as a temporary electromagnetic shield for mobile devices—as long as the packet is closed and grounded—and you don’t mind a few crumbs on your device.

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On 140 occasions, electrician logged that he was working while concealing his location.

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