Have you been a victim of prying eyes? ‘Why is this even a question – of course, Yes’ I hear you shouting back. OK, cool. Just be aware that you have company in the form of millions of fellow human beings.
The irresistible habit of casting one’s sharp eyes on people, their activities, things and scenes around you makes for a good Sherlock Holmes adventure but is a bit annoying, to say the least, when practiced in your close vicinity. And, I use the term ‘eyes’ rather loosely here – it includes other senses such as hearing, smell and even touch.
‘Looks like you are traveling abroad’ coos your co-worker looking over your shoulder at the printer as you valiantly try to hide your boarding pass that you just printed – ‘how annoying’ you say to yourself but grin sheepishly to prevent further conversation. And there are any number of those people at the office who make it a point to stand behind you and watch your computer monitor while enjoying their coffee, mentally filing away the names of all the senders and receivers of your emails – and a bit of the content too, where possible. It would appear that the only safe place to look at your emails is either in the restroom or inside your car in the parking lot.
The more orthodox snoopers in the office walk around looking for pieces of paper, post-it notes and other sources of written information lying around on desks, break rooms and copy machines.
Then, of course, there are those with their ears wide open for any conversation in the near (and far) vicinity – cell phone conversations in the corridor, conference room discussions with the door ajar or just loud conversation in the next cubicle. They then indulge in an array of follow up activities all the way from creation and spreading of mundane gossip to strategic negotiations from a position of strength arising from insider information.
In today’s world of smart phones and tablets, in public places such as airports, restaurants and stadiums, it is practically impossible to avoid looking at others’ devices or block your device from being looked at. You become privy to dinners and vacations being enjoyed by strangers and involuntarily become acquainted with the names of their pets (through social media postings, of course). Many a time, it feels like this modern, digital version has replaced the phenomenon of olden times when total strangers traveling together used to exchange their entire life history during the journey!
So, the moral of the story: Don’t bother worrying about being spied on by Government intelligence agencies – you cannot even hide from the prying eyes of your neighbor.