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    Feb 06, 2014

    S'poreans sext, but spy on partners

    THREE in four adults here pry into their partners' business by sifting through the messages and photographs on their mobile devices.

    The spies are mostly women, according to a recent survey. And, apparently, people have good reason to snoop around.

    The survey by IT security firm McAfee, whose findings were released yesterday, found that 78 per cent of women check on their partners, while only 67 per cent of men do so. It also found that exchanging suggestive text messages and e-mail, or even racy photos and videos, is commonplace.

    More than four in 10 respondents admitted that they have sent or received such intimate content through their mobile devices.

    Men are also more open about such content, with 58 per cent saying they have sent or received it, compared to 42 per cent of women.

    The online survey of 350 people, conducted in December and last month, also found that men are more careful about keeping their secrets from prying eyes. More men (87 per cent) compared to women (76 per cent) protect their mobile devices with some form of access control, the study found.

    But their caution may be defeated by the fact that four in 10 respondents were found to share their passwords with someone else. Close to four in 10 also admitted to using the same password across multiple mobile devices which they owned.

    "Not surprisingly then, we hear of stories where private and intimate content leaks out," said Mr Wahab Yusoff, McAfee's vice-president of South Asia.

    This is the first time McAfee is conducting the study in Singapore. Respondents were between the ages of 18 and 54.

    Despite the rampant spying, couples here seem to trust each other.

    Over nine in 10 said they trusted their significant other with intimate content they have sent across, while close to six in 10 even share e-mail accounts.

    Mr Y. K. Chan, 24, an undergraduate, said he and his girlfriend exchange suggestive messages, but he draws the line at racy photos. "If her parents happen to use her phone and chance upon them, I'm a dead man," he said.

    Both Mr Chan and his girlfriend make it a point not to spy on each other's phones.

    The reason? "A relationship should be based on mutual trust, having suspicions and needing to check on each other will only lead to more quarrels and fights," he said.