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Sunglasses and your personal privacy

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Today, I'm going to share a warning about sunglasses, which I can't recall anyone ever mentioning before. 

Previously, I have written about the danger of buying cheap sunglasses that lack the correct UVA and UVB protection. The danger I want to bring to your attention today is also about sunglasses lenses, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Allow me to explain.

Sunglasses and personal data

I was speaking with my friend Doug yesterday, over lunch. He was sat opposite me, wearing a regular pair of sunglasses enjoying the weather. During our conversation, he received an email on his cellphone.

He glanced down to look at it and said; “You’ll never guess who just emailed me, Jim?"

I said; “I bet I can tell you exactly who just emailed you. It was someone called Susan.”.

Doug looked at me in amazement. 

There’s no way I could have known that Susan had emailed him. After all, I’d never heard of her and didn’t know he was expecting an email from someone called Susan. (It later transpired that Susan is a prospective customer of his, who’d emailed to confirm her first order with his company).

Doug wanted to know how I guessed it correctly. That’s when I explained that I didn’t guess. I knew who’d just emailed him. 

I knew because I saw her email reflected from the screen of his cellphone, onto the lenses of his sunglasses!

Sunglasses, privacy and security implications

If you’re in a public space and you’re using a laptop, tablet or cellphone, you need to be aware that your sunglasses could be showing some of your data to the person opposite you. Yes, this only works under certain lighting conditions and the other person needs to be looking at your lenses, at the right time, but the risk is there. Under those conditions, there’s a small risk that you could be exposing your passwords, banking details or whatever you’re reading at the time.

One way to remove this tiny risk is to adjust your position, when reading something sensitive, sitting or standing opposite another person. For someone to be able to read your lenses, they need to be positioned at the correct angle.

Of course, you can remove your sunglasses if you want to eradicate the potential risk completely.

I hope you found this information useful. If you did, please share it with your friends so they know the risks. Whilst the risk is small, it’s better to be informed than unaware.

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