Technology, UAE

Is your smart device spying on you?

Half of people in the UAE think that their smart devices are spying on their lives, according to a recent YouGov research

According to the study, a majority (55 percent) of residents believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge. The results shows that men are more likely than women to think like that (58 percent vs 50 percent).

YouGov’s data finds that the most commonly owned devices are also the ones people are most likely to think are monitoring them. While 85 percent of people own a smartphone, 55 percent believe the technology is spying on them. Similarly, when it comes to a computer/laptop with a webcam, the figures are 57 percent (who use) and 36 percent (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 percent of UAE residents use security cameras, more than twice this number (32 percent) believe that they spy on them. It is a similar case with smart voice assistants (18 percent think they are monitoring their lives and 9 percent use them).

The research shows 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 percent), and almost as many (48 percent) 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 percent) and getting friend suggestions on the basis of their recent history (41 percent) as a matter of concern.

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

Data collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 1,005 respondents in the UAE between 8th and 15th April 2019 using YouGov’s panel of over 6 million people worldwide. Data is representative of the adult online population in the country.

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