UAE online users worry about privacy, take steps to remove digital footprint

27% of people concerned about data collected by downloaded apps

Image sued for illustrative purpose. Digital marketing.

Image sued for illustrative purpose. Digital marketing.

Getty Images

You’ve probably noticed it many times. You purchased a pack of cat food or search for a skincare brand and when you open your Facebook, you see a sponsored post or an ad for similar items.

People who access the internet, whether to send an email, read the news, do some research or shop online, unintentionally leave a trail of data.

These digital footprints can be used or accessed by third parties, but the problem arises when the personal data land in the hands of cybercriminals or fraudsters.

To avoid such issues, residents in the UAE who are active online are taking serious steps not to leave a damaging trail of data online.

In a survey conducted by Kaspersky, 84 percent of Internet users in the country said they have tried to remove private information from websites or social media. 

“Consumers are becoming more aware of where their personal data is available online,” Kaspersky said in a statement.

In its report that includes findings from a new consumer survey carried out in 23 countries, Kaspersky said consumers are worried not just about their private information, but their loved ones’ too.

In fact, about a third (31 percent) of consumers said their personal details, as well as information about their family, have been publicly available even without consent. More than a fifth (27 percent) also said they are concerned about personal data collected by the apps they have installed on their devices.

“Such occurrences are pushing consumers into making conscious choices about how and where their personal data is stored, to stop being viewed or used by others who do not have the permission to do so,” said Kaspersky.

The global cybersecurity company found that a significant proportion of people now apply additional measures when browsing the internet, to hide their information from cyber criminals (43 percent), the websites they visit (40 percent) and other individuals accessing the same device (44 percent).

One such user is Theresa Zaniti, who recently discovered that Facebook is storing all her online searches, not just comments and posts. 

“So, everything you do on social media is being monitored. I’ll just delete all my browsing history,” she said.

According to Marina Titova, head of consumer product marketing at Kaspersky, there are many ways people can control their digital footprint.

“One of them is to bear in mind who you share personal data with and understand how it may be used. Anything that is placed on the Internet may remain accessible to a wide range of people for a long time, unless you take specific action to protect it,” she said.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

#UAE #Privacy #Digitalfootprint #Cyberspace

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