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This form of eavesdropping became common practice with rulers from many cultures. In English, the phrase "the walls have ears" was first recorded in its present form in the mid-1600s. (From "Shhh! The Walls Have Ears!")

Does it mean 'by'?

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Another paraphrase of with in this context might be attending or accompanying.

A problem with|attending high-performance cars is that they need very frequent tune-ups.

A problem that accompanies high-performance cars is that they need very frequent tune-ups.

Much the same idea can be expressed with the possessive:

The problem with him is that he gives up too soon.

paraphrase:

His problem is that he gives up too soon.

This form of eavesdropping was the common practice of rulers from many cultures.

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It simply means 'among'.

Rephrasing,

Rulers from many cultures commonly practiced this form of eavesdropping.

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