Google confirms it once more got rid of alleged spying software ToTok from Google Play – TechCrunch

In December, The New York Times reported a well-liked messaging app known as ToTok used to be in fact a spying software utilized by the federal government of the United Arab Emirates to trace customers’ conversations, location and social connections. The app used to be got rid of from the Google Play retailer in December, whilst Google investigated, then reinstated in early January. Google now confirms the app has once more been got rid of, however this time declined to remark as to why.

The website first spotted ToTok had once more been pulled from Google Play on Friday.

Reached for remark, Google showed to TechCrunch that it got rid of the app from Google Play. In addition, Google famous the enforcement used to be now not accomplished according to any exterior course or request. That manner the U.S. executive didn’t get entangled right here, relatively that Google selected to take away the app itself — most probably for a coverage violation.

According to The NYT’s authentic record, ToTok have been downloaded thousands and thousands of occasions from each Apple and Google’s app shops via shoppers around the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America within the few months since its release. Citing unnamed U.S. intelligence assets, the record claimed the app have been used to trace its customers’ “each dialog, motion, courting, appointment, sound, and symbol.”

At the time of the app’s elimination, Google mentioned the app had violated unspecified Google Play insurance policies. The app had over 10 million installs via then, app intelligence company Sensor Tower says.

In January, ToTok’s web page introduced the app used to be once more to be had for download.

The up to date model submitted to Google Play incorporated a brand new conversation that asked authorization to get right of entry to and sync customers’ touch record, Vice reported.

Oddly, this up to date model of ToTok by no means ranked on Google Play’s charts once more.

Typically, third-party app intelligence companies like App Annie and Sensor Tower are ready to peer even very lowly ranked apps. For instance, App Annie’s charts monitor apps as poorly ranked as #1750 in any class. But after its go back, ToTok by no means even made it that top — even in its house marketplace of UAE.

The app used to be to be had for download, then again. Google confirms it got rid of the app on Friday, February 14, 2020 from the Play retailer.

Now ToTok’s web page issues to the app’s list on quite a few third-party Android app shops, however now not Google Play. It additionally provides an APK document for direct download.

ToTok stays unavailable on iOS.