REDACTED – The widespread proliferation of newspapers once guaranteed covert operatives like John Stuggs a portable piece of cover, now agents like him are left with only their smartphones in the field.
“You used to be able to crack open the paper and enjoy a nice day in the park while eavesdropping on enemies of the state. Now everything’s moves so damned fast,” John said wistfully.
For John, operating his phone on a mission is a logistical challenge. “It’s impossible to get this narrow rectangle to cover my whole face,” he explained. “I’ve sprained my neck getting the angle right, I can only feign like I’m taking a selfie for so long.
John believes that prolonged workplace exposure to his phone is having an adverse effect on his health. “I have difficulty sleeping, my brother thinks it’s because my job is to violate the rights of activists on behalf of the state, but I think it’s all that blue light.”
Having a phone constantly at his side has changed the nature of John’s globetrotting work. “When I used to undercover at an exotic locale I could kind of do my own thing, maybe pursue an unfulfilling romantic subplot, now my work can reach me all the time, it’s like I’ve got no privacy being a spy.”
Changing phones during operations means John frequently loses his contact information. While his exorbitant roaming charges are taxpayer-funded, resolving the issue with payroll is bothersome.
“I miss how it was, you know? back when guys like me could do whatever we wanted with impunity… Now we’ve got everyone’s information on these little devices anyway… Maybe my time has come and gone…”
At press time, a discarded paper rustled in the wind.