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Unlike most spyware applications, xeyes does not attempt to hide what it is, overtly stating in the manual that "Xeyes watches what you do and reports to the Boss." While few users ever actually read the manual, those that do invariably take this as a joke, since, as everyone knows, spyware does not work on Unix-type systems. It is probable that this fallacy was also propagated by the CIA in order to cover up the truth.
Gnome and Google sport xeyes prominantly as part of their own surveillance schemes.