'Google has confirmed that the popular messaging app ToTok, which is
actually a spying tool used by the United Arab Emirates to track the
activities of those who download it, has again been removed from the
Play Store. But this time they declined to comment as to why.
Reached for comment, Google confirmed to TechCrunch that it removed
the app from Google Play. In addition, Google noted the enforcement
was not done in response to any external direction or request. That
means the U.S. government did not get involved here, rather that
Google chose to remove the app itself -- likely for a policy
violation. According to The NYT's original report, ToTok had been
downloaded millions of times from both Apple and Google's app stores
by customers across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and North
America in the few months since its launch. Citing unnamed U.S.
intelligence sources, the report claimed the app had been used to
track its users' "every conversation, movement, relationship,
appointment, sound, and image."
At the time of the app's removal, Google said the app had violated
unspecified Google Play policies. The app had over 10 million installs
by then, app intelligence firm Sensor Tower says. In January, ToTok's
website announced the app was again available for download. The
updated version submitted to Google Play included a new dialog that
requested authorization to access and sync users' contact list, Vice
reported. Oddly, this updated version of ToTok never ranked on Google
Play's charts again.'
-- source: https://yro.slashdot.org/story/20/02/17/2136251
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174