Popular chat app ToTok is reportedly secret United Arab Emirates spying tool
Illustration by Ana Kova for The Verge
A report from The New York Times has revealed that messaging app ToTok, popular in the United Arab Emirates, is in fact a government spy tool, created for the benefit of UAE intelligence officials and used to track citizens’ conversations and movements.
ToTok launched earlier this year and has been downloaded by millions in the UAE, a nation where Western messaging apps like WhatsApp and Skype are partially blocked. It promised “fast, free, and secure” messages and calls, and attracted users across the Middle East and beyond, even becoming one of the most downloaded social apps in the US last week.
But, citing classified briefings from US intelligence officials and its own analysis, the NYT reports that ToTok is really a way for the UAE…