Mobile apps ask for a lot of permissions before you download and, for the most part, users view them as fairly innocuous. That does not seem to be the case when it comes to ToTok, which was allegedly being used by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to spy on its users, according to a New York Times report.
Said report prompted Google and Apple to remove ToTok from the Play Store and App Store respectively, while both parties conducted investigations into the allegations. An updated version of ToTok surfaced recently on the Play Store again though, which prompted Google to once again remove it on Valentine’s Day last week.
9to5Google writes that the updated version was removed for many of the same reasons that the original was, especially as The New York Times report noted that ToTok was able to “Track every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound, and image of those who install it on their phones.”
For those of you unfamiliar with ToTok, it works like a number of messaging platforms, and integrates elements from some of the most popular on the market.
If the allegations are indeed true, it would prove quite concerning as it was downloaded by users outside of the UAE, including regions in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Added to this the Android version of the app had a reported 10 million downloads, which would create a massive pool of data that bad actors could scrub through.
Despite the app being removed from Stores, the APK link and third-party platforms (which we have chosen not to link to) are still hosting it.
Regardless of whether the app surfaces again on either the Play or App Store, the stories surrounding it should serve as evidence that it is not worthwhile downloading.