A British survey has revealed a nation of spies,
rifling through their partners' text messages, tapping phone conversations and
even tailing loved ones with webcams and satellite navigation systems, to check
their significant others are faithful.
The most favoured way of keeping tabs on a partner is checking their text
messages, with more than half (53 percent) of those questioned admitting
sneaking a peek.
For young people aged 25 to 34 the number shoots up to a startling 77
The second most popular way of finding out if a partner has been a love-cheat
is to read their e-mails 42 percent told the UK Undercover Survey that they had
carried out such a ploy.
The third is the old-fashioned method of rummaging through a partner's
pockets, (39 percent), the survey found this was technique was particularly
popular with women.
But men weren't in the clear. They prefer to break another great unspoken
rule - reading their partner's diary.
And neither is the spoken word safe, with many people admitting to listening
on conversations their other halves believed would be confidential.
About one in three (31 percent) 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 private
At the paranoid end of the spectrum, a small number of the 1,129 people
questioned said they had even secretly recorded their partner's telephone
conversations, using dictaphones or other such taping devices.
Surprisingly, this method was the most popular with the over-55s age group
not usually known for being tech-savvy. One in 20 (5 percent) admitted to it.
This age group also included people who used other hi-tech devices to keep an
electronic eye on their partners, such as using webcams to watch them while they
were at work, or GSM tracking devices to follow them in their cars.
Almost one in 10 (9 percent) fancied themselves as private eyes, following
their partners from a distance to check that they weren't meeting with a secret
Commenting on the survey's findings, former spy Harry
Ferguson, once an agent with the UK's MI6 secret service, said: "Everyone has
the ability to be a bit of a spy every now and again. You don't need to have
James Bond's gadgets to enter the world of espionage."