Report: Popular UAE chat app ToTok a government spy tool

ABC News | 12/23/2019 | Staff
NEW YORK -- A chat app that quickly became popular in the United Arab Emirates for communicating with friends and family is actually a spying tool used by the government to track its users, according to a newspaper report.

The government uses ToTok to track conversations, locations, images and other data of those who install the app on their phones, The New York Times reported, citing U.S. officials familiar with a classified intelligence assessment and the newspaper's own investigation.

Emirates - Apple - FaceTime - Facebook - WhatsApp

The Emirates has long blocked Apple’s FaceTime, Facebook's WhatsApp and other calling apps. Emirati media has been playing up ToTok as an alternative for expatriates living in the country to call home to their loved ones for free.

The Times says ToTok is a few months old and has been downloaded millions of times, with most of its users in the Emirates, a U.S.-allied federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.

Government - Surveillance - Emirates - Emirates - Day

Government surveillance in the Emirates is prolific, and the Emirates long has been suspected of using so-called “zero day” exploits to target human rights activists and others.

Zero days exploits can be expensive to obtain on the black market because they represent software vulnerabilities for which fixes have yet to be developed.

Times - ToTok - Way - Government - Access

The Times described ToTok as a way to give the government free access to personal...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC News
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