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Moses Obroku: Your Telephone & the Invasion of Privacy

Moses Obroku

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A series of discussions and experiences from friends and associates recently; has necessitated beaming interest on phone privacy which I had hitherto taken for granted.

When mobile phones came to Nigeria, we were not initially bothered with privacy invasion and all the other intricacies that those little devices came with. We were too excited to be able to talk or reach others from whatever corner we found ourselves. But over time, we have now mastered the use of mobile phones. Business deals, online shopping, internet banking, relationships (whether legitimate or illicit) are now daily occurrences over the phone.
Let us face it; the phone is now a huge vault of information if we need to investigate any wayward moves from a partner. At least, he/she would get those kurukere calls, text messages, Tweets, BBM chats(complete with pictures), the whole works of salacious sleaze… just sitting there waiting to tell stories of what, where, why and how.
A former classmate just announced her separation from her husband. She cited trust issues. When she was done with her narration; between her husband and her it was difficult to tell who wreaked more havoc on their marriage.

The husband had neglected and emotionally disconnected from her for some time now; which had in turn led her to get emotionally involved with a couple of male friends. According to her, she just talks to these guys since her hubby hardly effectively communicates with her anymore.

She decided to get separated from her hubby recently when he turned hacker and confronted her with print-outs of her various phone conversations/text messages she had overtime engaged in with different people. She could not even understand how he achieved that feat technologically, or what gave him the right to do so. She was distraught. By her reasoning, her husband had violated that last slice of privacy that she was supposed to enjoy. It felt like he peered into her soul to the depths of her thoughts that no other, no matter how close should reach without her permission. In her words, ‘it’s my phone. Not our phone’.

While the phone can indeed be a revealer of secrets, it would be proper to consider that such secrets revealed may not be what they looked like. A few years ago, my former girlfriend woke me up rudely from a lovely afternoon sleep; with that look on her face that should be reserved for a funeral service. As I sat up, I realized my phone was in her hand. When I asked what the matter was, she began ‘you think I am a fool? I knew it. I have always known you were cheating on me’ (I realized I was already condemned before the hearing). so I asked her what she was talking about even as she showed me a text message from a lady named Rose that she found on my phone which goes thus:
‘So it’s true? I heard you are having an affair with my best friend; which is making you not have much time for me anymore. Can you deny it?’

On the face of it, that message looks highly indicting right? I agree. Before I could say another word, my former girlfriend went ahead to tell me the story of my life. I was forced to interrupt and asked her to finish reading the text. As it turned out, it was one of those mischievous messages that were designed to mislead. After the first part of the text which she saw, a lot of space was given making it look like the message had ended. However, when you scroll to the end, the remaining part read:
‘So you think I don’t know you are now in a serious relationship with Jesus Christ?’

You should have seen the embarrassment on her face when she found out she had made a gaffe. She apologized in ten lifetimes!

I have never ceased to wonder since that incident many years ago, why people carry out those potentially heart wrenching investigation/raids on their partner’s phones. And when they find anything that requires clarification, why can’t they just ask without passing judgement? I don’t do phone raiding, as I think it reeks of extreme insecurity, an absolute waste of time and dissipation of precious energy in an unproductive activity. As I see it, if my partner is determined to end our relationship by getting involved with another person, no amount of snooping into her phone or hiring a private eye to tail her around town will prevent it. If you gave it enough time, the truth of the matter will come out.

I learnt the vital lesson a long time ago, that you cannot beg or even intimidate someone to love you or remain with you forever. To even attempt to do so would be like calling for a dance, long after the music has ended.
I asked another friend recently what her take was on people checking each other’s phones. She said her partner cannot go through her phone. But she would go through her partner’s as the lady. When I asked further, what it is she might be looking for checking his phone, she said ‘hidden blessings’. I wished her well in this ultimate search. As I know it usually turns out, ‘when you open the anus, you know what to expect to find there’ (this must be an African proverb).

More parents of teenagers are also now using this hacking into their children’s conversation as a means of parental guidance without the children’s knowledge. An American family friend (single mom), whose daughter recently turned fourteen bought an iPhone for her and synchronized her daughter’s instant messaging settings with her own phone; so that she also receives in real time, any chats the daughter gets. I could understand a mother’s love and need to protect her daughter from sexual predators out there. However, I am not very sure how that looks in the face of right to privacy. Question is; does a fourteen year old deserve the observance of her right to privacy as it relates to her communications?

I recently heard about a House help who forgot her phone in the house she works in one time as she went on an errand. By providence, the phone rang as her employer was passing by. On impulse, the madam went through the phone and discovered through the text messages she found, that the House help was pregnant and contemplating abortion in her house.

It looks like one may remain divided on what position to take on this phone invasion palaver. Sometimes, it may save a lot of headache. Other times, it can cause all the headaches and even heartaches.

I have a feeling the Jury would be hung on this.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Arenacreative

Aside from being a lawyer, migration management expert, security personnel and fitness buff; there are many other sides to me. I am also a self -proclaimed foodie (and oh yes, to complement that, I can cook!). Of course, writing is my passion and I have a mission to inspire my world, one person at a time. I can be reached on [email protected] Instagram: @mosesobroku

25 Comments

  1. Ocean Beauty

    June 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I dated a broke ass (worst mistake), he asked to use my phone to check facebook and browse seeing that he had a torchlight Nokia. I gave him the phone and feel asleep because I was ill. About an hour later, he gave me the phone because it was ringing. I answered the call and the person asked if I was okay, I replied I just woke up. He said but I have been chatting with him and the reason he called was to find out if everything was okay because he didn’t understand the direction the chats were headed. Phone call ended.
    I checked my phone, lo and behold, this so called lover has been sending messages to all the guys on my bbm contacts. He started the conversations with “hi baby”, “my darling, “hello boo boo” etc
    The one month sickness inside me vanished. The words I told him that day will forever haunt him.
    That was the beginning of the end of the so called relationship.
    I still don’t understand why some men are members of Team Snoop.
    My phone is my phone and your own is your own.

  2. nammy

    June 18, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I am a retired phone stalker, I used to go through my boyfriend’s phone. I know it’s wrong so I just made up my mind to stop one day. I can proudly wear a tag saying 100 days and counting, that’s how long I stopped stalking.

    • Oyinlola

      June 18, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Big ups Nammy?
      Keep going. At some point I was gonna go that phone-stalking route but I told myself no peace of mind would come out of it besides I have come to realize that nothing stays hidden forever especially with me. I will still know. It may take a while but I’ll know so no point stressing…

  3. miss max

    June 18, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Like it is said “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”. Snooping through another’s phone is visa to heart aches, headaches and all kinds of aches. For a parent to a child especially teenagers i can understand but for adults, its a no no.

  4. mrs chidukane

    June 18, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I have full access to my husband’s phone, he has same to mine. In fact, our passwords are the same. If I don’t want him to see something , I delete it,simple. I know all his passwords to everything and I don’t snoop. If you’re really in sync with someone, you don’t need to snoop before catching them in a lie.

  5. Red

    June 18, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    lol…such a sensitive topic. the problem isn’t privacy issues, it’s simply insecurity. imagine the writer’s babe no even calm body read the message finish. that case wasn’t about reading his messages but pepper-body. really i believe everyone should have a little privacy at the same time, don’t hide things from your partner (that’s why you have no business dating someone u can’t trust)
    @ocean beauty.. that one is just hilarious. is he mad ni? what was he thinking? anyway, thank God the relationshop ended bcs if it had led to marriage, babe, na “eleya” you for be with no access to any internet. *tongue out*

    • Ocean Beauty

      June 18, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Fast forward to 2013…. The guy out of the Blues said I should consider marriage oh. That we will get married in 2015. Even his family wondered how I dated him. His type of people are very easy to deal with. Trust me.
      The only time I have snooped, I hammer on top the matter. The bf in question asked me on a Saturday evening what time I will go to church the following morning. I replied 8am. Later, I asked to make call with his phone when a message came from a girl…..”okay I will be at your gate by 8am” my eyes popped open. I read the chat. He promised a girl money and wanted to know when I ll be away so he can deliver his money. When I got to church I quietely send my own list of items. And if he wants peace of mind he must buy it that day. He knew better than to disobey the queen. I no get strength to snoop. Don’t do to me what I won’t do to you.

  6. nwa papa

    June 18, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve never been that dude to snoop, I’ll give you the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise.
    My phone on the other hand has been snooped on, here’s the thing I say about snooping. If you decide to snoop or invade my privacy in hopes of finding something incriminating when I’ve not given you any reason to, it means that the person doing the snooping must have something that they have done and are trying to justify it by going through my stuff in hopes that it’ll make them feel better & their actions justified… #insecurity

    • Person pikin

      June 18, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      I dont think anybody snoops out of the blues. Personally if i snoop your phone you must have given me reasons to ie acting all shady, suspicious, dodging calls, etc. However, after my recent experience, no time for nonsense. it wont even get to that point, na to remove myself from the scenario.

  7. Takeseveralseats

    June 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Dated a guy who was so obsessed with stalking me!! He watched me closely till he got my phone unlock pattern. Took his time to go thru my twitter DM, facebook page, WhatsApp messages and all, caught him while he was at it and just told him ” wa kan pa ara e!” You go just kill yourself . I then asked him to let me have his phone which he refused.

  8. pinkie

    June 18, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    sometimes Stalking is good oh… met this guy Feb 28th, one day I mistakenly spied his phone and saw this name. as a retired FBI, I went to stalk the babe… omo, she’s Irish and they have an 11 year old and a 10day old baby together.

    mebbe wifed her or something. I felt hurt cz bastard had chopped me clean (RIP to the money I spent on him while we were ‘dating;).

    sometimes sha, when we see these things, we can be better armed for the future.

  9. Busarni

    June 18, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Ain’t nobody got time for headaches abeg; a partner that will cheat will always cheat. if you like, snoop from lagos to Ibadan. Another one that irritates me is when I give some one my phone to view a picture; they start going left and right scrolling through other pictures. Who does that !!

    • Tru

      June 19, 2015 at 11:03 am

      AS IN!!!!! So irritating

  10. BlueEyed

    June 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    On this issue, the kind of snooping that irks me is that of acquaintances or work colleagues that like to snoop around your private business. Those types of people irritate me, you give them your phone because they ask for an information and they go around snooping…..lord let me catch anybody doing that with my phone. We will map out how u will be paying my subscription for me henceforth

    • oyindee

      June 19, 2015 at 7:13 am

      Spot on!thank you o,some pple are just plain nosy,that was how my colleague asked to use my phone to call the office asst. Has she had forgotten to tell him something she needed him to buy,i had to request for my phone back after 30mins because I needed to make a call lo and behold when I opened my BBM I saw she had opened a chat and was reading,that I was mad was an understatement,i simply told her when next I wanted to subscribe she should know she’s paying half of it as we use the phone together now,
      Gbeborun with a degree *i can’t deal*

  11. j

    June 18, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I feel most times wen we’r in wrong relationships, we know it in our guts dat its wrong, and dats why lots of pple snoop. We just know deep down dat sometin is not rite somewhere. The operational word been- Most times. Not all the time.
    Personally, I feel for peace of mind and trust couples need to be open with each other.
    The most invasion of privacy I hate is dat which the network and others just send at random and I find myself deleting text upon text everyday. Dats the really invasion of my privacy rite there.

  12. t

    June 18, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I had an ex boyfriend that snooped so much that he even used to check my laptop history. I used to snoop on my hubby’s phone just to see how he was dashing out money instead of saving it,I would check debit alert and all but I got tired sef and stopped.

  13. Duchess

    June 18, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I caught my highly esteemed first love loving up some other girl as in, begging her to be his while she used him like toilet paper simply because I went through his phone. I sometimes discover bank account balances when I snoop. I ‘ve caught people I was at the same table with gossiping about me because I snooped…If you ask me, a little snooping once in a while does some good. Sometimes, these things just fall on your lap and what more can one appreciate than some juicy truth staring at ones face? What you don’t know might just be killing you… slowly.

  14. Tosin

    June 19, 2015 at 5:04 am

    when i have some responsibility for a kid, i usually very secretly check out their secret writing or whatever, just to know that they’re doing ok. you don’t want to be obvious about it, cos that can be embarrassing for the kid, right?
    on the man-woman level, whatever. i’d say both hiding and seeking are unnecessary. remember truth? chai, truth don die.

  15. like

    June 19, 2015 at 5:38 am

    I had just gotten an employment offer in my gmail and a friend wanted to make use of my phone for Facebook so i gave her. Came back later and the conversation was fine only to get home to receive a shocking messages of how she wasn’t informed that I have a job and she thought we were friends.

    I am your typical loud mouthed girl who everyone thinks she cannot keep a secret however when i choose not to say, I don’t say. .

    Checked my first bf phone once discovered our break up message so i walked out before but he came back begging that he didn’t mean it btw our phone password was the same

  16. Methinks

    June 19, 2015 at 6:02 am

    I dint mean to snoop. Was just checking pix on his phone and stumbled on 3 pictures with this girl. I asked Oga, he lied and told me she’s an ex who is begging to come back. I wasn’t convinced, he took me out and kept begging me till I accepted. This is a guy who I have been friends with for 4 years before he asked for a rship. Fast forward to months later. This same chic is calling him pet names on social media, I asked Oga, he was tongue tied. Later said they have been dating for a while and was on a break when he asked me out. And he kept begging me to forgive him. I broke up with him, forgave him but when I found out more lies, I laid a curse on him. I still wonder what I did to deserve this. I never disrespected him prior to the rship. Now, they did introduction the next week and got engaged few weeks later.
    The thing is snopping can save your life!
    Pray to God to lead you to good partners.

  17. ACE

    June 19, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Well well well ! The truth is whenever you pick up q partners phone to find something you will see something , sometimes it might not even be that they are cheating but because that’s the thought u over exaggerate issues. See it happened to me over and over again. My bf”s phone never crosses my mind until he started going through mine , he goes through every single part of it, then he locks his phone. Lol funny guy right ??? It turned out he was checking my phone because he was scared I was doing same thing that he does. Cos the day he mistakenly gave me to hold that’s because the battery was dead , thank God we use same phone I swapped batteries and the first digit that came to my mind opened the phone and OMG!!! Different girls , pictures and all included . it eventually led to the break up. Ever since then I vowed not to do it again the heart break am yet to recover from. So am hung on this one.

  18. Chinma Eke

    June 19, 2015 at 9:27 am

    I remember one day with my ex, he was working on his laptop, so I decided to make myself busy too nau. I was on my phone jejely, browsing makeup tips and reviews. So bros out of the blue took my phone. Lo and behold, he saw what I was doing. I can’t forget the look on his face, he couldn’t believe it, he checked all apps; none was open. He had thought I was chatting with a guy of course. Didn’t know the typing was just me ,refining my search terms.

  19. Skepo

    June 19, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Everyone with their own experience. My husband knows the passwords to my phones. He doesn’t lock his phones at all and he leaves them laying around. He prefers to use my Sony Xperia phone to browse and read news. He isn’t the type to snoop around. He understands that I have more of male friends. He actually prefers that to having lots of female friends and he knows a good number of my friends. If he stumbles on an unclosed chat when he opens my phone, he will close it and sometimes we gist about the chat. I have the passwords to his email and Facebook accounts. He knows only my phone password because he enjoys browsing with my phone. My husband is a good looking man who is rugged in a nice way and he has his own view of the world and way of seeing things. When we have disagreements, I don’t let him touch my phone (afterall, we are fighting). But all’s good when we’re back on track.

  20. Awesomeness

    June 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Snooping sha… i agree it can save a life, but in some relationships, like marriage, it will hurt u. Experience speaking here. What is not meant to be disclosed, keep undisclosed and trust God o. U will find what u r looking for if you snoop, cos u already had a hunch smth was amiss. So, my advice, try not to snoop, but confront issues headlong. It’ll save u the heartache. Better to be happy with deception in some relationships, than being faced with the stark naked truth, and nothing u do can help to ease the situation or hurt. Selah!

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