Most UAE residents think their devices are spying on them

Staff Reporter/Dubai
Filed on May 27, 2019 | Last updated on May 27, 2019 at 03.54 pm


Residents are also worried about their personal documents or images being automatically uploaded on the cloud.

Half of the people in the UAE think that their smart devices are spying on them, according to a new research.

A majority (55 per cent) of residents believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge. The results show that men are more likely than women to think so (58 per cent vs 50 per cent), the YouGov research said.

YouGov's data finds that the most commonly owned devices are also the ones that people think are monitoring them. While 85 per cent of people own a smartphone, 55 per cent believe the technology is spying on them. Similarly, when it comes to a computer/laptop with a webcam, the figures are 57 per cent (who use) and 36 per cent (who think it is spying on them), respectively.

However, there are a couple of cases where levels of belief that devices are monitoring their lives outstrips ownership. While 15 per cent of UAE residents use security cameras, more than twice this number (32 per cent) believe that they spy on them. It is a similar case with smart voice assistants (18 per cent think they are monitoring their lives and 9 per cent use them).

The research showed that many UAE residents have concerns about their online privacy. Around half find their personal documents or images being automatically uploaded on to the cloud very concerning (49 per cent), and almost as many (48 per cent) consider their personal details getting auto filled during a transaction quite troubling.

A large number also find receiving mailers from brands they are not subscribed to (45 per cent) and getting friend suggestions on the basis of their recent history (41 per cent) as a matter of concern.

Losing private data (such as photos, mails, financial information, etc.) is people's biggest tech-related fear (with 54 per cent saying it), with women being more likely than men to believe this (60 per cent vs 51 per cent). Cyber terrorism (47 per cent) is the second-biggest fear, followed by social isolation due to excessive use of technology (35 per cent), and human interactions being replaced by artificial intelligence (34 per cent).

Data was collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 1,005 respondents in the UAE between April 8 and 15.

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