There have been reports of messaging apps and social media platforms used for spying on users, but many of them are left unverified. However, according to a latest report on the New York Times, ToTok, one popular instant messaging app, is found to be a surveillance app from the United Arab Emirates. This app has been designed to spy on users, collecting their private information as well as messages that are shared through it. Although the app has most of its user-base in the UAE, people are using the app in the US as well.
“But the service, ToTok, is actually a spying tool, according to American officials familiar with a classified intelligence assessment and a New York Times investigation into the app and its developers. It is used by the government of the United Arab Emirates to try to track every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound and image of those who install it on their phones,” reads the report on the New York Times. The report comes amidst a number of claims that accuse instant messaging apps and social networks of becoming a threat to national security in the United States.
Soon after the allegations rose, the application has been removed from both Play Store and App Store. Those who have already installed the application, however, will have to remove them manually. That is very likely in the US, as the government has been talking about national security and digital threats in the past couple of years. In fact, some other apps like TikTok are also being investigated as to whether they are laundering data to other countries like China, even though in this case, TikTok has claimed that it is independent from China. Whether these plans are good enough is another question.