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Attitudes of Internet users in the Middle East towards cybersafety, security and data privacy


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Presentation given at QITCOM 2014 on 26 May.

The Rassed team at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology published the results to their most recent study into the attitudes of Internet users towards cybersafety issues.

The study looks at 5 key areas:
1. Access to technology
2. Attitudes towards the Internet
3. Levels of concern towards safety and online privacy
4. Trust in various online actors
5. Online behaviors

The study was conducted as part of the Global Internet Values Project, and thus benchmarks the Middle East results across regional and global data.

The Middle East sample contained 2793 respondents from 14 different countries in the region.

For the full report, please visit:

Published in: Technology, Business

Attitudes of Internet users in the Middle East towards cybersafety, security and data privacy

  1. 1. The attitudes of Internet users in the MENA region to Cybersafety, Online Security and Data Privacy
  2. 2. Introducing…
  3. 3. About Rassed The Digital Society division at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) established “Rassed” to: 1. Study the impact of the Internet and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) on society; and 2. Explore the potential of emerging digital technologies. Find out more about our work at:
  4. 4. Examples of our work • Quarterly Market Intelligence reports; “Digital Digest” and monthly Tech “Top Tens” = 140,000+ views since June 2012. • Our channel is in the Top 1% most viewed on SlideShare. • Visit
  5. 5. Where our work has featured
  6. 6. What are users doing online? What are their Needs? Attitudes and Behaviors? And use this to shape policy and practice. Why this matters Need to understand:
  7. 7. The ICT Landscape 7+ billion citizens 2.5 billion online (35%) 1.8 billion are on social media (26%) Source: We Are Social Global MENA 279 million citizens 102 million online (37%) 66 million are on social media (24%)
  8. 8. The attitudes of Internet users in the MENA region to Cybersafety, Online Security and Data Privacy
  10. 10. Purpose of this Study This report looks at the attitudes of online users in the MENA region towards cybersafety, security and data privacy. The study is in line with our mandate to conduct studies and research on the impact of ICT on Society, so that stakeholders can understand the societal context in which they are operating. Aims to inform policy and practice - internally and externally.
  11. 11. Areas of study 1. Usage of ICT and the Internet in the region 2. Attitudes towards the Internet 3. Concerns about safety in cyberspace 4. Trust in different online actors 5. Behaviors online
  12. 12. Methodology • Online survey of existing Internet users. • ictQATAR worked with the Oxford Internet Institute in collaboration with Cornell University. • Fieldwork by comScore and Toluna.
  13. 13. Countries covered Algeria Egypt Tunisia Morocco Iraq Jordan Yemen Iran Saudi Arabia Oman Qatar Kuwait Bahrain UAE MENA sample = 2,793 * Results from 14 countries
  14. 14. Research sample • Global sample = 8,442 * Results from 44 countries • Total Sample = 11,225 * Covers 58 countries
  16. 16. 1. MENA users are less likely to shop or bank online. 2. Higher perception in MENA that “the Internet is making things better for people like me.” (49% vs. 39%) 3. Higher desire for Government role re harmful content. 4. Less worried about safety of personal online content. 5. Strongly against data repurposing. MENA VS Global
  18. 18. 1. GCC: more likely to access the Internet on the move. 2. GCC: greater access to technologies like tablets (70% vs. 33%) and gaming machines (62% vs. 36%). 3. North Africa: stronger sense that personal data put online is kept safe (22% vs. 15%). GCC VS North Africa
  20. 20. MENA households full of technology
  21. 21. VoIP is highly prevalent The region has some of the highest take-up of video and voice calls over the Internet.
  23. 23. Generally, attitudes were… • Positive: Belief that the Internet brings benefits to people. • Safeness: Divided views on how safe the Internet is. • Government: Higher demand for Government to regulate, censor and protect Internet users from harmful content.
  24. 24. Higher belief in MENA that the Internet is “making things better”
  25. 25. Harmful content: Protecting Children
  26. 26. “Discriminatory” or “Racist” content
  27. 27. 3. LEVELS OF CONCERN
  28. 28. Areas of concern High concerns about: • Being Hacked • Misled by false information • Reputation damage Lower concerns about: • Being monitored online • Data collection
  29. 29. Concerns around data repurposing
  31. 31. Trust in Different Online Players Higher trust in… Entities that are “offline first” • Mobile and telephone providers • Government authorities • Banks and financial institutions • Health and medical providers Lower trust in… Entities that are “online first” • Social networking websites • Online search engines • Online websites and newspapers • Online marketers and advertisers
  32. 32. Trust Index
  33. 33. 5. BEHAVIOR
  34. 34. Inconsistency in claimed behaviors and actions Behaviors and Attitudes are not always aligned. Examples of potentially reckless behavior in MENA: • More likely: to open attachments from people they don’t know. • Less likely: to scan their computers/devices for viruses. • More likely: to “Friend” people they don’t know . SAY they are safety-conscious ACT safety-conscious
  35. 35. Takeaways
  36. 36. 5 top-level MENA findings 1. Broad equivalency - access to technology compared to global averages. 2. MENA Internet users more likely to agree that “the Internet is making things better for people like me” compared to the world average. 3. They are also more supportive of the idea that Government authorities should block harmful content than users elsewhere. 4. Amongst different online players; banks and financial institutions in the region enjoy the highest levels of trust. 5. MENA Internet users are among the most likely to open attachments, documents and emails from senders they do not know.
  37. 37. What does this mean for you? 1. Need to understand users desire for Government role in managing harmful content. 2. Multi-stakeholder approach to encouraging safer online behavior – building on high trust levels. 3. Educate and empower users regarding data management, collection / repurposing.
  38. 38. QUESTIONS? Thank you for listening Get your copies! Email: