Image Credit: getty images

Dubai: Being in a healthy, loving relationship should mean that no secrets are kept – with trust and honesty being the key factors.

Yet not all relationships are without problems, leading some to spy on their partners and monitor their movements online.

Research from Kaspersky Lab found that 79 per cent of people surveyed in the UAE believe that couples should have private space, both on and offline, while 8 in ten (80 per cent) of the respondents said they value their relationships more than their privacy.

Up to 62 per cent of partners said they openly share their device PINs and passwords with each other, and 32 per cent of people have their fingerprint registered on their partners’ devices.

“When relationships form, online privacy borders are called into question, along with just how much people are prepared for their partner to know and access about their online life,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.

“With so many partners using each other’s devices or snooping on their loved ones, privacy boundaries can go out of the window. This can thwart any Valentine’s Day or birthday surprises and prevent people from keeping things secret from their partner,” said Mochola.

A worrying 36 per cent of internet users surveyed in the UAE admitted to spying on their partners online; 45 per cent of whom described their relationships as unstable or future together uncertain.

The survey also found that 35 per cent of unhappy partners were more likely to feel that their privacy was endangered by their partner, when compared to those in a happy relationship at 19 per cent.

“It is important to get the balance right between a transparent, honest relationship and keeping your digital life secure. An open dialogue with your partner and setting privacy boundaries is a good starting point,” said Mochola.

Unhappy partners, 80 per cent, said they were also more inclined to want to keep some of their activities to themselves, compared to 60 per cent for those in a happy relationship.

The things people hide

The Kaspersky Lab report identified the top issues that people hide from their partners, which include:

  1. The content of messages they send to other people
  2. How they spend their money
  3. Some of their personal files and websites they have visited

“The issue of privacy and secrecy surrounding online activities might also lead to partners quarrelling – 39 per cent have argued after a partner viewed something which the other didn’t want to share,” said the report.