A popular messaging app billed as a secure way to chat with family and friends is a spying tool used by the United Arab Emirates to trace the activities of those that download it, The New York Times reported Sunday. The app, which debuted just a few months in the past, has been downloaded millions of occasions around the world.
The app is a mass surveillance tool, The Times reported, able to monitoring every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound and picture of its customers. Nearly all of the app’s users are in the Emirates but recently grew in popularity within the US.
An analysis and interviews with laptop safety specialists counsel the company behind ToTok, Breej Holding, is a front for DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyberintelligence and hacking agency that employs Emirati intelligence officers, former National Security Agency workers, and former Israeli military intelligence operatives, The Times reported.
The allegations relating to ToTok come among elevated concerns over governments secretly using apps to collect information on their targets. TikTok, a wildly in Chinese style app known for its quirky 15-second movies, has been accused of illegally and secretly harvesting vast quantities of personally identifiable consumer data and sending it to China.