Skip to comments.It Seemed Like a Popular Chat App. Itís Secretly a Spy Tool.
Posted on 12/22/2019 9:05:45 PM PST by ransomnote
ToTok, an Emirati messaging app that has been downloaded to millions of phones, is the latest escalation of a digital arms race.
IMAGE: The Aldar Building in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where the Emirates’ signals intelligence agency and Pax AI, a data mining firm linked to ToTok, have their offices. Photo Credit...Ben Job/Reuters
WASHINGTON — It is billed as an easy and secure way to chat by video or text message with friends and family, even in a country that has restricted popular messaging services like WhatsApp and Skype.
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.
ToTok, introduced only months ago, was downloaded millions of times from the Apple and Google app stores by users throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. While the majority of its users are in the Emirates, ToTok surged to become one of the most downloaded social apps in the United States last week, according to app rankings and App Annie, a research firm.
ToTok amounts to the latest escalation in a digital arms race among wealthy authoritarian governments, interviews with current and former American foreign officials and a forensic investigation showed. The governments are pursuing more effective and convenient methods to spy on foreign adversaries, criminal and terrorist networks, journalists and critics — efforts that have ensnared people all over the world in their surveillance nets.
Persian Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Qatar previously turned to private firms — including Israeli and American contractors ....
Gotta catch those that don’t really like their pedophile prophet and moon god.
Every application with access to your camera, microphone, images, contacts and communicating with a developer (98% of all phone apps nowadays) is a spyware by default.
Sounds like an Arab Google.
Parts of the US government recently released advisories on this app.
The U.S. FedMob probably doesn’t like competition with their apps.
Agreed. Use the internet? Don’t even begin to think you are hidden or anonymous.
Actually it is possible to use internet anonymously but it takes some effort.
In the USA, we have the NSA!
Privacy, 4A, yah right!
But of course, “Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear” as so many here always claim.
Your Big Brother in a keffiyeh is listening to you!
Dumb question, but why are there are all of these chat apps when simple text messaging does the same thing?
That is not it. It was bought by a Chinese company and all user information is therefore passed to the Chinese government and intelligence. Example: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tiktok-navy/u-s-navy-bans-tiktok-from-government-issued-mobile-devices-idUSKBN1YO2HU
Oh. That’s where the NSA and CIA get their info so it’s definitely not a competition thing.
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