In a world where it appears more people will soon be working from laptops in local cafes than huge corporate campuses, it seems like it is a good time to talk about laptop screen privacy filters.
Privacy filters are not just for those who want to stalk their ex-lover’s girlfriend’s sister on social media. Though, a little extra privacy would probably make them feel more secure. These filters are actually more necessary than ever because 1) we now keep all our private information on our computers and 2) strangers are attracted to our screens like moths to a flame.
Anyone who has ever had three strangers crane their necks to watch them play Candy Crush on public transport can attest to how awkward it is to see someone you do not know check out what you are doing with your time.
Whether you are protecting your bank details, your employer’s top-secret marketing plan, or your slightly off-color Internet habits, more privacy can save you time, money and embarrassment. It can also allow you to work just about wherever you want without wondering who is watching.
Right now there are only a few options for protecting your screen from the public eye.
Keeping Your Browsing Activity Private
One currently available privacy option is an extension available for Chrome called Decodelia. The extension obscures your browser with wavy lines and patterns. You then decode it with a pair of custom glasses. Basically, no one can see what you are up to online unless they are also wearing the glasses.
Decodelia works simply by superimposing a geometric pattern on the Chrome browser, similar to the add-on patterns used by banks for their envelopes to make the information inside unreadable. It then uses special properties of your laptop LED screen to make the content readable when viewed with red tinted glasses.
But Decodelia has some downsides. It only covers what you are doing on Chrome. So, if you are trying to keep your seatmate’s prying eyes off a Word document, you are out of luck,
Also, it is not the most popular extension on Chrome, and there are only a few reviews. One review thanks the creator for allowing him to look at naughty pictures on the go. Another notes that the tool inadvertently makes the screen hard to read by sometimes blurring letters on the browser.
There is always the fact that you have to wear red-tinted glasses in public to use the extension. Yet, it seems a small price to pay to be able to browse in peace.
Monitor accessories designed for privacy are also available for laptops and desktops. Most of them come as standalone accessories that you stick onto the screen.
Different brands come in different sizes. Some manufacturers fit them to screen types, such as the retina displays on new Mac computers.
This privacy protector from 3M has the extra benefit of reducing glare, which makes seeing your screen easier in poorly lit rooms. Plus, it narrows the screen’s viewing angle to forty-five degrees. This prevents your bored neighbor from looking over and checking out your private email. But, it makes little difference if the intruder happens to be standing or sitting behind you.
Thus, screen defending accessories are more like those desks used for standardized testing in elementary schools. In theory, they prevent cheating. But, having a good look at your neighbor’s answers is easy if that is what you want to do.
Greater security for computers is essential in the age of the nomadic worker and the mobile device addict. Although the field of privacy filters is currently limited, you can expect to see more of these devices and applications soon. Because as the world becomes more mobile and more connected than ever before, so, too, will it need to become more secure.
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