Protect Your Data in Flight

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive


As laptop screen technology gets better, you may be unwilling giving the passengers around you a peak at your confidential data on your next commercial flight. An article in today’s WSJ Interactive, (“An Airplane Is a Great Place To Gather Some Intelligence” subscription required), talks about the problem which is especially bad on well known executive routes like the Boston-San Jose route on American Airlines which is known as the “Nerd Bird.”

Marianne McInerney, spokeswoman for the National Business Travel Association, in Alexandria, Va., says many travelers let down their guard while in transit because they are preoccupied or stressed. Others may relax, feeling cloaked in anonymity. “They almost think that the other passengers are going to forget everything that was said,” she says.

Many business travelers assume the people around them don’t know their business or won’t understand or care about what they are overhearing. But such a laid-back attitude can be dangerous, since there is a good chance someone else on the same flight works for a competitor.

A solution to flying shoulder surfers is to use common sense and be aware of the people around you, if you can, you should refrain from working on your most sensitive documents. If you must work on that super confidential spreadsheet you can use a privacy hood (like the PC Shade or Private Eye) or a privacy/anti-glare screen cover like the 3M notebook privacy filter.

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