Shoulder Surfing proves too much of a temptation

New research released today depicts Britain as a nation of shoulder surfers, who can’t resist having a good look at a complete stranger’s book, laptop, newspaper or mobile phone when out and about in public places.
According to research commissioned by 3M, the diversified technology company, a staggering 80 per cent of Brits admit to having read over a stranger’s shoulder whilst on public transport, in coffee shops and in shared work places.
The research reveals a number of interesting anomalies. While newspapers still attract the majority of prying eyes, half of us also like to get stuck into someone else’s book and just over a quarter (26 per cent) are enticed by text messages. More cause for concern, however, is that over half the population (56 per cent) are attracted to a neighbour’s laptop.
There are 2.4 million laptop users at risk from prying eyes, with 42 per cent of them using their
laptops on public transport for at least 5 hours a week. Reasons why laptops have proven so attractive to would-be shoulder surfers is the promise of seeing business mail and corporate documents (40 per cent), posing a genuine threat to businesses wanting to protect sensitive information from laptop voyeurs. Trying to get the low-down on gossip (37 per cent) and scanning websites (14 per cent), were also popular triggers.
Shoulder surfing may be considered trivial by many, but for businesses hoping to unfetter its employees and maximise productivity this can be a serious barrier. Seventy per cent of laptop users surveyed commented that this practice made working remotely an uncomfortable experience, of whom almost a quarter (23 per cent) felt strongly enough to call it a major annoyance.
So how are laptop users confronting the issue of shoulder surfers? The report has shown that mostly, they aren’t-¦ Over half (52 per cent) are simply ignoring the problem and allowing strangers to view, potentially sensitive, corporate information. At the other end of the spectrum over a fifth (22 per cent) would be agitated enough to sacrifice productivity and turn off the laptop. The research also supports the notion that Brits will do anything to keep the peace, as only five per cent of laptop users said they would actually confront a shoulder surfer.  Â

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