Uninstall the chat app ToTok which is really an UAE’s government surveillance tool

If you have nightmares about being under surveillance on the internet, and that all your messaging apps are spying on you, that’s really a far stretch unless you have installed ToTok (not to be confused with TikTok).

Millions of users thought ToTok was a free chat app but its turning out that its really a surveillance tool being used by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), that leaks data to its government officials.  US intelligence officials revealed this to the New York Times (NYT) on Sunday and Google and Apple have removed the ToTok app from their app stores.

So, uninstall ToTok right away because it will keep on spying if you have it on your phone.

According to the US intelligence report the UAE government used ToTok to gain information on voice and text conversations, location data, online social connections of ToTok’s users.  Even though most of ToTok’s users were based in the UAE, it began to gain popularity worldwide and most recently topped the charts in the US. It was downloaded more than a half million times in November alone.

ToTok advertises that it is a ‘fast and secure calling messaging app,’ but it never promises in its privacy policy actual end-to-end encryption, but only makes reference to data storage being encrypted .

One of ToTok’s strong selling points is that unlike chat apps like WhatsApp or Skype for instance, it didn’t need a VPN (virtual private network) and that it could circumvent restrictions that have been put in place by the UAE government.

Breej Holding, who is ToTok’s developer has a pretty shady reputation as well. The company is a ‘proverbial ghost’ on the internet and possibly a front for the cyber intelligence agency DarkMatter, according to the NYT. Reportedly, DarkMatter has contracted several times with the UAE government, employed ex-intelligence agents and purportedly engaged in hacking crimes which has gained the scrutiny of US intelligence officials.

ToTok’s software itself (known to be a copy and paste work of the Chinese app YeeCall) is linked to a data-mining business tied to DarkMatter that once shared a building with the UAE’s intelligence agency.

If you installed ToTok and have not as yet deleted it, you should have an inexplicable chill going up your spine because ToTok can access every bit of your online identity just by asking for all the usual permissions a social media app does on your phone, hoping of course that you don’t look too closely at its privacy policy.

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