This post brought to you by 3M Company. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Gear Diary.
The other day Raina and I were sitting on the couch, each of us was on our iPhones playing Two Dots. I glanced over and could see everything on her screen.
Were she doing confidential work, and the person sitting next to her someone other than me, it could have been an issue; that’s where 3M Privacy Filters come in.
Issues of visual privacy and smartphones, tablets and laptops is a growing area of concern. Yes, you can be as careful as you want with your data but if someone can see your screen all the security you want can’t help your information from being stolen. 3M Privacy Filters address this form of visual privacy concern. There are, in fact, two different areas at issue. The privacy screens addresses them both. The first is visual privacy. Visual privacy is the issue of sensitive information being accessed visually via screens creating a security risk for organizations. In other words, visual privacy is the simple act of someone looking over your shoulder and seeing what you are doing on your screen. It is low-tech but can create all sorts of issues when sensitive data is seen and stolen. The second area at issue is visual hacking. Visual hacking is the more active version of this kind of threat. It is the act of sensitive, confidential or private information being viewed or captured for unauthorized use. The former issue is a form of accidental data loss while the latter, a direct attempt to actively steal data and other kinds of information, is more insidious. In both cases however there is the potential for sensitive work to fall into unorthodox hands. That is, of course, a huge issue. Not to belabor the point but, as more and more people work in public spaces like coffee shops and airports, visual privacy issues become an increasingly large issue. Let’s be clear, in a data-driven society Visual Hacking is a legitimate threat to organizations. Information is power and money and the loss of either is a problem.
3M is a leader in visual privacy solutions. Their privacy filters are clearer than competitors and are fully reversible. One side even has an anti-glare surface. Installation was simple. Inside the package you get a wipe so you can clean the screen, the privacy filter and a number of adhesive strips. The strips go on the filter and then, after removing the adhesive on the remaining side, hold the filter on you screen. This isn’t like a smartphone screen protector that had adhesive on the entire surface. That’s a good thing since it helps guarantee a quick, convenient and complete install. As 3M explains:
3M (TM) Privacy Filters keep confidential information private. Only persons directly in front of the monitor can see the image on screen; others on either side of them see a darkened screen. Designed to fit standard laptops with a diagonally measured 15″ viewing screen and a 4:3 aspect ratio. Actual filter dimensions are 12″ wide x 9″ high (304 mm x 228 mm). Includes your choice of two easy-to-use attachment methods. Reversible, matte side reduces glare and reflections. Lightweight, thin, frameless design. Protects display from dirt, debris and scratches. Cleans easily with a soft cloth and water. Great for high traffic areas such as airports, airplanes, commuter trains, coffee shops and other public places.
I installed the film in a matter of seconds and found that, while I experienced no loss in visual clarity, someone looking from the side could no longer see what I was working on. In a coffee shop or airport that is a very good thing. Do they work? Oh yes they do. This is the film when looking at it straight on… As you can see, it is still possible to see what is behind it. This, however, is what happens when you look from the side. Yes, all of a sudden you cannot see a thing. And that’s the idea. At under $50 on Amazon– it is a small price to pay in order to keep your privacy intact. Features include:
- Keeps your personal or confidential information safe from prying eyes
- You’ll see the information on your display while people on either side only see a darkened screen
- Designed to fit standard laptops with a diagonally measured 15″ viewing screen and a 4:3 aspect ratio
- Actual filter dimensions are 12″ wide x 9″ high (304 mm x 228 mm) Includes your choice of two easy-to-use attachment methods
- Reversible, matte side reduces glare and reflections
- Lightweight, thin, frameless design
- Protects display from dirt, debris and scratches
- Cleans easily with a soft cloth and water
- Great for high traffic areas such as airports, airplanes, commuter trains, coffee shops and other public places
- Limited 1-year warranty
If you work on proprietary information or simply want to keep prying eyes off your screen this is a must-have accessory. So I ask you: Do you always feel like … Somebody’s watching you? Have you ever felt the threat of visual hacking? Is it a big enough concern that you are willing to do something about? And, now that you know you can do something about it for just a few dollars is there any reason you would not do so?