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Mon 27 May 2019 01:56 PM

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Most UAE residents think smartphones are spying on them

New survey shows 55% of UAE phone users believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge

Most UAE residents think smartphones are spying on them
YouGov’s data found that the most commonly owned devices are also the ones people are most likely to think are monitoring them.

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

A majority (55 percent) of UAE residents believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge.

YouGov’s data found 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 also 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 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, is people’s biggest tech-related fear (with 54 percent saying it). 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).

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