This is the second time that one of the country’s most popular messaging app, ToTok got removed from the Play Store for being alleged spyware deployed by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Last December, both Google, and Apple removed the app from their respective app stores following a New York Times investigation that claimed it was being used by the UAE government to spy on its citizens.
However, last month, Google reinstated the app on the Play Store but still, it continued to remain unavailable on Apple’s App Store.
The Verge reported that Google didn’t give any reason for its action so it remains to be seen what exactly happened over the past month to convince the company to change its mind finally and what are the new developments in this regard.
The New York Times reported that the app is used by the Emirati government “to track every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound and image of those who install it on their phones”.
However, it should be noted that it is not yet clear how the messaging app company will respond to the latest development. It should be noted that last December, the company reiterated fast and vehemently denied all allegations by the New York Times investigation report.
Incidentally, the messaging app claimed that the allegations are not only ‘absurd’ but also ‘deranged’ and ‘vicious’.
In December 2019, ToTok in an official statement stated “Not only do we respect privacy and ensure security, but our users also have the complete control over what data they want to share at their own discretion. The shameless fabrication by our distractors (sic) cannot be further from the truth”.