There has been a widely spread suspicion that smartphone chat applications serve as mass surveillance tools for intelligence agencies of various countries around the world. ToTok, one of the most popular chat applications, is believed by the Unite States Intelligence Community to be such an application.

The New York Times revealed ToTok messaging app to be most likely a secret surveillance tool used by the United Arabic Emirates intelligence agencies to spy millions of users around the world. The application was released only a few months ago and it keeps track of user’s conversations, messages, videos, images and of course the users’ location inside or outside the UAE. In various regions of the UAE certain features of other social networking application are blocked by the government making Totok the main choice for millions of users, so ToTok became the most popular chat application in UAE. In addition, the app has numerous downloads across Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, and recently became one of the most downloaded social apps in the United States.

The reaction from Apple and Google to the article posted in The New York Times was to immediately remove ToTok from both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Just a few days ago, ToTok’s co-founder has pleaded with Apple and Google to reinstate the application in their stores. Despite the above, further investigation is being conducted by the FBI.


Chris Poultsidis
Larissa Team