John L Locke, a linguistics professor in New York, has written a book to demonstrate the social value (purpose) of eavesdropping. Locke argues that it represents “the quest of all humans to know what is going on in the private lives of others.” Careless talk may cost lives (as the wartime slogan suggested), but is also enriches them, as Sukhdev Sandhu's review indicates.
Sharon Jayson, Cellphones, social networks make eavesdropping OK? (USA Today, 14 September 2010)
Gary T Marx, 'Cough a Little upon Entering': Some Reflections on the History of Surreptitious Spectatorship (Surveillance and Society, vol. 9, no. 1/2, 2011, pp. 248-256)
Sukhdev Sandhu, Eavesdropping by John L Locke: review (The Telegraph, 17 October 2011)