During a recent discussion with a friend, she narrated how she let a friend of hers use her mobile to chat. Part of the fallout

How Well Do You Keep Your Private Info From Prying Eyes?

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During a recent discussion with a friend, she narrated how she let a friend of hers use her mobile to chat. Part of the fallout of that incidence was that this friend ended up reading some of her private conversations with other people. Some of those conversations were had in strict confidence and she felt really bad about having made it possible for a third party to have seen them.

Personally, I am not likely to let anyone use my mobile to chat. I consider a chat channel as very personal. Apart from personal, social use, I have business conversations there, as well as conversations with people who reach out to me in their pains and troubles for support and counsel. All that makes my chat channel a no-go area for anyone.

I have also observed that the average person is snoopy. They see your nice phone and ask to see it. The next thing you know, they are going through your SMS and emails. What for beats me. Having seen it happen a number of times, I am much more cautious about handing my mobile over to anyone.

Mobile is the most personal and intimate computing platform out there. It is more personal than the desktop PC, more personal than the laptop or netbook, and infinitely more personal than a tablet PC. One would expect people to show respect for privacy when handling a very personal item like a mobile, but it isn’t usually the case. Because of that, I am also wary of asking anyone to let me go through their mobile (especially for a quick hands-on), except the individual concerned has indicated that he or she is okay with it. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

A Nigerian proverb says that it isn’t for nothing that the crayfish is bent or curved over. I think that mobile users may need to learn to say No when issues of personal privacy and security are at stake. Mobiles have gone beyond the days of mere telephone calls. The volume of sensitive information that we push via our mobiles on a daily basis suggests that we be more conscious of security.

As a mobile user, how do you handle nosy and snoopy people who want to go through your mobile? Do you ever let others chat with your phone? How do you deal with the privacy issue in that circumstance? Contributions and comments please.


  1. I’m not very comfortable with people using my phone, but in some environments, people don’t consider it a very serious matter and may actually see you as the one with issues if you won’t let them check their mails or visit Facebook on your phone. I’m not particularly bothered with how they view it, but the truth is that you just don’t have to live all for yourself and because of this, I use ZDBox’s app lock feature to protect apps that have some personal and security concerns for me.

    Apps like WhatsApp and aNdClip which I use rather very frequently are normally not protected, but if someone should ask to use my phone for mail or chat, I quickly include them in the protected list and also open Opara Mini and log out of my emails. I have nothing to worry about on both Facebook and Twitter so I simply leave those open.

    And if someone asks to use my phone for SMS or calls, that’s no problem as there is my Tecno feature/dumb phone for calls and SMS and I only have SMS to worry about. Important personal SMS that I don’t want to delete are normally transferred to my Android phone, while others that have specific information that I want to keep but not necessarily the messages themselves, I also store on the Android phone and delete the messages.

  2. As a mobile user, how do you handle nosy and snoopy
    people who want to go through your mobile?

    (Singing) == Wherever you go, ogogongo, wherever you be, do not say yes, when you mean, to say No.Eba Tutu!

    The simplest solution is to just never give out your phone (the one with sensitive info). just say NO.

    if that would make you TRUE ENEMIES and drive away your FALSE FRIENDS, simply employ third-party apps like Harry Echemco.

    Case closed!

  3. Hand out my phone? NEVER! My mobile is my personal office and as such I am very careful the way I handle sensitive information contained therein. I password protect all my essential apps, messages, what’s app, email and d rest. I also make sure that the phone locks automatically after some few minutes, so I have nothing to worry about. Just yesterday, a friend gave out his phone to somebody who wanted to send an email, instead of going to the email app, he went to where the blackberry I.D is located, entered his own email address and password and that was it! Now the owner cannot update or do anything on the phone without seeing his friend! Its because of issues like these that I don’t release my phone to just anybody.

  4. Areas of my mobiles that contain classified info are kept secure with the relevant apps, so I don’t have any issues giving out my mobiles to someone to use.

  5. Peeps around me know how attached I am to my phone, so i don’t leave my phone unattended to. My keypad is set to autolock within seconds of idle use, so they cant even snoop.

    Apart from people snooping around, little do we know how much of our private lives we have divulged out since we jumped unto the online train.

    While playing around with google today, i typed my username – biola129 and it returned a whole lot about me; full names, facebook & twitter profiles, mobility blog and nairaland activity logs and a whole lot of other stuffs including a blogger account i didn’t even remembered its existence albeit carrying my full contact details and pic.

    If i were a FBI agent, thats a tangible amount of background info.

    To protect ourselves, we should go through the privacy settings for each web service we use … That mu one pound!

  6. The best solution is to just get a chat and sms lock app. Shikena. Chat apps are private and personal. So I don’t see why I should share that with someone else. Except its a spouse or sibling replying to someone we both know. Apart from that, it’s chat lock app all da way! 🙂

  7. On my BB, apart from the usual lock apps, I also have the Parental Control app developed by RIM itself, when I wanna leave my phone with someone is simply activate the app and include my fb, twitter, email, camera, web browser, media, and camera apps, and the effect is that the included apps basically dissapear from the phone’s UI, not hide’em disappear. It’ll be as if those apps were never included in the OS. That’s still my favourite privacy app on BB yet

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