What If Your Phone Could Tell You When Someone Is Looking At It While You Use It

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Electronic screen protector screenshot

You have a smartphone, that’s almost given. You use that smartphone of yours for all kinds of business. In that pocket computer of yours are stored some of the deepest secrets, both business and personal. You would like to make sure no unauthorised eyes ever get to see some of that information, wouldn’t you?

The best way to ensure no one ever gets to snoop in and see your business would be to only use your smartphones in secluded places. Problem is that we have all been made multi-taskers by these pocket computers of ours. You just can’t stand in a queue in a bank for example without checking in on your work. If not work you at least use that time to check in with friends and family in chat.

That brings with it the danger that the girl stood behind you will get an entertainment fix watching your back and forth with your landlord or they could witness the fight with the missus that eventually leads to divorce. Personally I am weak, I just can’t resist throwing in a quick eye just to see what the heck is it that could not wait till someone was in a private place. Yes, I’ll admit it, I am a shoulder-surfer.

It could be worse than the snooper just seeing your embarrassing conversations, someone seeing your chat with a prospective investor in which you are selling your idea. They could be so impressed with your idea and leave the queue immediately to go run with your million dollar idea.

Google saw these scenarios and thought they could do something about it. Two Google researchers have come up with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered software they are calling an electronic screen protector.

It will interrupt whatever you are doing to display a ‘stranger is looking alert’ and also show you live footage of the person snooping in. It will even show a stream of rainbow vomit flowing from their mouth for maximum humiliation. You will only be taken back to what you were doing when the stranger looks away and all this happens automatically and in less than a second.

The software uses the front facing camera and rapid gaze detection to identify the prying stranger within milliseconds. The software recognises faces using FaceNet, a facial-recognition neural network and also tracks gazes using GazeNet, a gaze-estimation neural network. This means you will only be notified if the stranger actually looks at your phone rather than just because they are stood behind you.

The researchers said this about their electronic screen protector,

Because of the quick, robust, and accurate gaze detection mobile model we can now easily identify the face identity and gaze simultaneously in real time. Hence, the application, an electronic screen protector, can enable its enrolled users to continue reading private and confidential contents on your mobile device, while protecting their privacy from onlookers in a crowded space such as the subway or an elevator.

Interesting times these are that we live in. I’m one of those that have been thwarted but I applaud the electronic screen protector. I may like to snoop but I don’t appreciate it when it’s done to me. It’s human nature.


  1. Fungai Mawerera

    Brilliant !! so I guess one wont need to have a password then??

    1. MacdChip

      Think security! If you loose your phone and it doesnt have an password or security, is you data going to be secure? Those private docs and pics??

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Isn’t this just another Big Brother trick by Google? They can watch and possibly listen to you 24/7. I’m sure they will gather tons of information about the phone users habits, in the process, under the guise of protecting your screen from strangers.

    1. Google Informer

      Its another millimeter of rope around our necks but make no mistake, the noose was already tied a long time ago. if you have an android device/ google service account, check out myactivity.google.com to scratch the surface of what they have on you!