Majority of UAE residents think their smart device is spying on them
May 27th, 2019, Gabbie Comfort

Majority of UAE residents think their smart device is spying on them

Research into how people feel about technology reveals that many also have concerns about data privacy

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

A majority (55%) of residents believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge. The results show that men are more likely than women to think like that (58% vs 50%).

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% of people own a smartphone, 55% believe the technology is spying on them. Similarly, when it comes to a computer/laptop with a webcam, the figures are 57% (who use) and 36% (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% of UAE residents use security cameras, more than twice this number (32%) believe that they spy on them. It is a similar case with smart voice assistants (18% think they are monitoring their lives and 9% 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%), and almost as many (48%) 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%) and getting friend suggestions on the basis of their recent history (41%) as a matter of concern.

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

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.