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45% of MENA Internet users are ‘very careful’ about their online activity; but fail in terms of cyber security

45% of MENA Internet users are ‘very careful’ about their online activity; but fail in terms of cyber security

About 45% of MENA Internet users agreed to being “very careful” about what they do or say on the internet, as compared to a world average of 38%. However only 28% were “very concerned” about their online communications being monitored, while 17% were “not concerned at all”.

These findings were released by ictQatar during QITCOM 2014 in a report titled: The attitudes of online users in the MENA region to Cyber safety, Security and Data Privacy.

Despite exercising caution about their online activity, the survey also highlighted a contradictory behaviour among MENA users when it came to cyber security and safety.

For instance, MENA’s internet users are among the most likely to ‘open attachments, documents or emails from senders they don’t know’.

Also, they are among the most likely to ‘accept “friends” or “connections” online with someone they personally don’t know’.

Explaining this contradiction, the report says: “What this shows is that attitudes and behaviours do not always correlate. These conclusions may be surprising given the concerns previously expressed by users about being careful about what they say and do online. But perhaps it also shows that in certain situations MENA internet users are keen to use the web as a means to broaden their social – or professional – circle.”

Other interesting figures
  • 44% MENA users were “very concerned” about someone breaking into their internet account or email.
  • 59% “totally agree” that government authorities should censor internet content to protect children.
  • 41% “totally agreed” that government authorities should censor content that is ‘discriminatory’ or ‘racist’.
  • 41% “totally disagreed” when asked: If I make information public, it is ok for anyone to use that data.
Trust factor

The report also examines the relationship users had with different online players.

MENA users shared a higher level of trust in entities that are ‘offline first’. These included – mobile and telephone providers, government authorities, banks and financial institutions and health and medical service providers. However, MENA users shared a lower trust in entities that were ‘online first’ such as online marketers and advertisers, social networking sites or online websites and newspapers.

According to the report, high levels of trust among offline businesses and institutions offer a “solid basis on which to deploy new eServices and encourage eParticipation”.

The full presentation can be viewed below.

Credit: Damian Radcliffe, section head of Digital Impact & Emerging Technologies, ictQatar, presented the report during QITCOM 2014

[Photo courtesy: Ministerio TIC Colombiavia Flickr, image resized to fit]

Copyright © 2013 JustHere Qatar. Reproduction of material from any JustHere Qatar pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.

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