Why a Privacy Filter on Your Gadgets is a Brilliant Idea

Ever catch someone looking at your screen? You know, when you feel someone’s eyeballs looking over your shoulder, turn and catch the last moment of them quickly turning away?

It’s interesting to think about, really. I mean, I know I’ve done it myself to others without even meaning to. Maybe on the subway standing over someone who I quickly figure out is playing Candy Crush (people still play that?), is reading an article about “Your Cat Food Might Be Killing Your Cat!”, or whatever else.

For some reason we’re drawn to screens. Maybe it’s from being so vigilant in checking our own whenever they light up, vibrate, etc., but regardless, it happens more often than I think most of us realize, and the scarier part? What if the person who sees your screen isn’t just looking out of curiosity and a bad habit?

Apparently in 2015, the Ponemon Institute conducted a study to figure out just how easily this type of “visual hacking” can occur and what, if any, sensitive information could be extracted by this method. The results were interesting to say the least.

Visual Hacking Infographic

In a nutshell though, 91% of the time the “hackers” could obtain information simple by looking over shoulders and managed to get an average of 3.9 pieces of sensitive information while also only getting caught 32% of the time.

And while those numbers seem sort of nuts, they kinda make sense. After hearing about that, I started to just take notice of the number of screens I can see while just walking around New York City. Without disclosing what I saw, let’s just say, it’s super easy to do and someone who wanted to use that to their own benefit wouldn’t have a hard time. I mean, it’s a hell of a lot easier than creating a computer virus, right?

Beyond the criminal aspect of this, sometimes there’s stuff I’m looking at that I just would rather others not see even if they aren’t trying to use it for some nefarious reason. Obvious things like my Quickbooks expenses (no one needs to know how much I spent on takeout this month, it’s embarrassing) to things like my YouTube history (no one needs to know about my ongoing struggle with figuring out how to put a duvet in a duvet cover in under 17 hours), to whatever else I happen to search for, open, etc.

So what does one do about all these wandering eyes? Well, 3M, the makers of basically EVERYTHING (seriously Google their products, it’s a lot of stuff we use all the time), decided to make privacy filters that you can easily stick on that stop anyone who isn’t looking at the screen dead-on (see: you) from seeing your screen.

How to Apply a Privacy Screen Protector

3M was kind enough to send me one for this article and, I have to say, it was pretty easy to put on.

  1. You simply clean off the screen.
    3M Privacy Screen Cleaning
  2. Peel back the liner on the privacy screen protector a few inches.
    3M Privacy Screen Peeling
  3. Align the holes to figure out where it needs to go and slowly, using the applicator, press it onto the display.
    3M Privacy Screen Lining It Up
  4. You then continue to use the applicator to remove any bubbles by rubbing them towards the edges of the screen.
    3M Privacy Screen Finishing Up

In addition to the screen now appearing black to anyone outside of the 60 degree viewing area, you can get them in anti-glare to give your own view of the screen a nice matte finish and it’ll also protect your screen from minor scratches.

If you want to check out the privacy screen protectors, head over to 3M’s site here for more info.


The bottom line here though, is that our devices, our smartphones, laptops, etc. are something we use daily and generally get nervous about letting others use. They’re filled with our memories captured in photos and videos, our financial info, our quickly scribbled notes to ourselves, and, in today’s day an age, honestly just feel like an extension of ourselves.

So when someone else sees it, whatever it is, it feels like a real invasion of privacy. The nice thing though, is that now that I’m aware of just how easy this “visual hacking” is, there’s a super easy and inexpensive fix in the form of privacy screen protectors. Now, to order them for my 17 gadgets…

Let me know what you guys think of the visual hacking concept. Have you had it happen to you (or done it yourself, even on accident)? Love to hear from you guys, as always. Regardless, thanks so much for reading!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 3M. The opinions and text are all mine.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand. And as with all of the sponsored content I do (which I don’t do much of), I must truly feel I will recommend the product to you guys before agreeing to do the post. If you have any concerns or questions about advertising on my site, please read my super strict Advertising Guidelines and feel free to reach out to me if you need.

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