Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Britons don't trust their love partners

LONDON: Britons are a nation of spies, rifling through their partners' text messages, tapping phone conversations and even tailing loved ones with webcams and satellite navigation systems, a survey reveals.

The most favoured way of keeping tabs on a partner is checking their text messages, with more than half (53 per cent) of those questioned admitting sneaking a peek. The number shoots up to 77 per cent in the 25 to 34 age group.

The second most popular way of finding out if a partner has been a love-cheat is to read their emails – 42 per cent told the UK Undercover Survey that they had carried out such a ploy.

The third is the old-fashioned one of rummaging through a partner's pockets, (39 per cent), a technique popular with women.

Men prefer to break another unspoken rule – reading a partner's diary.

Neither is the spoken word safe from eavesdropping.

About one in three (31 per cent) of those questioned in the survey, commissioned by the Science Museum in London, for its Science of Spying exhibition, said they covertly listened in on their partner's conversations.

A small number of the 1129 people questioned, said they had even secretly recorded their partner's telephone conversations, using dictaphones or other such taping devices.

This method was the most popular with the over-55s age group, where one in 20 (5 per cent) put their hands up. This age group also included people using webcams and GSM tracking devices.

Almost one in 10 (9 per cent) have resorted to checking up on their partner by following them.

Harry Ferguson, former M16 agent, said: "Everyone has the ability to be a bit of a spy every now and again, and you don't need to have James Bond's gadgets to enter the world of espionage."

The Science of Spying exhibition ends in September.

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