Source: Google Play
Another day and another application has been banned in the UAE. From Skype and Viber to the WhatsApp calling option and many other online games, UAE has been a pro at banning apps.
Adding on to the list of apps removed, Totok is once again pulled from Google Play Store. The app that was launched in July in the United Arab Emirates quickly took off, but it was only a matter of a few months until it got removed from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. According to Google, this app violated the policies. However, there isn’t much detail on this matter.
The New York Times published its investigation and revealed that this app was gathering personal and confidential information of its users. From the users’ conversations to other activities, it was collecting all sorts of information. Most messaging apps ask for permission to access images, location, microphone, contacts, calendar, etc. Hence, by acquiring such intensive information, the app became a surveillance tool for ToTok developers and UAE Intelligence.
Officially, ToTok has given an official statement and addressed that the sudden removal is due to certain technical problems. However, they didn’t discuss the main issue… you know, the spying and all? On the contrary, the statement focused more on the fact that it has approximately tens of millions of users around the globe and that it maintains high-security standards.
So, why would Google remove the app so suddenly? Clearly, something is odd as the developers haven’t made efforts to remove or fight back the aversive allegations.