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Google is removing the alleged espionage app ToTok from the Play Store for the second time

Google has removed the ToTok chat app, reportedly a spy tool for the United Arab Emirates, from the Play Store for the second time. The app was removed from the App Store and the Google Play Store earlier in December, shortly before that The New York Times published a report about it. Google has quietly restored the app in January. The app appears to have remained unavailable in the App Store.

9to5Google the news noted of the ToTok removal earlier today. When reached for comment, Google confirmed that The edge that it aborted the app, but did not explain why. It removed ToTok for the first time for violating unspecified policies, according to the Times.

ToTok is a messaging app that promised “fast, free and secure” messages and calls and was downloaded by millions in the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East. Shortly before it was removed from the Play Store and App Store in December, the app was one of the most downloaded social apps in the US. But the NYTs research showed that the app enabled the UAE government to spy on users.

ToTok denied the ‘vicious rumors’ in a statement published in December, which states that “[n]not only do we respect privacy and ensure security, our users also have complete control over what data they want to share at their discretion. “