Is your laptop spying on you? Four in ten Brits cover their webcams

What Mobile
February 22, 2019

Seven in ten Brits (71%) believe companies record our data without consent via our own devices

One in twenty Brits (5%) always browse in ‘incognito mode’ and four in ten Brits cover their webcam to stop spies

Data security is important, particularly in an age where technology is ever-present. But what steps do Brits take to secure their privacy?

A new YouGov Custom survey reveals the steps Britons take to guard themselves against prying eyes – whether they belong to hackers or legitimate technology companies.

Many people cover their webcam with tape or similar for privacy, including Mark Zuckerberg and US government officials, with more and more tech security experts recommending it. Four in ten Brits who own a desktop or laptop with a webcam cover it up (39%) with one in five (21%) blocking it permanently.

And it’s not just camera Brits should be aware of. Although two-thirds of Brits (64%) adjust their privacy settings on their devices, only a third of smartphone users (38%) deny permissions for apps to download data e.g. requests to access your photo library.

Similarly, only 5% browse the internet in ‘incognito mode’ and only 4% use a VPN when browsing online (which ensures no data flows between your device and external sources).

But do we have anything to worry about? One in nine Brits (11%) don’t think companies record private companies without consent however a staggering seven in ten (71%) think companies record our data without content. Interesting, a quarter of those who do not think tech companies are storing our data still cover up their webcam all the same (25%).

Commenting on the research, Russell Feldman, Director of Digital, Media and Technology at YouGov said: “Our personal data is just that; personal. Keeping our data private and secure is obviously a high priority for many and there are many steps you can take to ensure your privacy remains private.

“It’s hard to know what companies are and aren’t storing while we use the internet and our devices. However, in order to remain in control of our data there are steps we can take ranging from tape over cameras to exploring our privacy settings.”

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