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App On Android, iOS Uploads Your Contacts Without Permission

By September 7, 2017March 1st, 2023Technology News

If you spend any time at all on social media, you may have heard a lot of recent buzz about an app for both Android and iOS devices called “Sarahah,” which was developed by a Saudi developer.

In Arabic, the word means “honesty,” and the app’s stated purpose is to give users a platform to receive honest, anonymous feedback to help them improve.

Unfortunately, the app itself isn’t all that honest. Unbeknownst to those who install it, it makes a copy of their contacts lists and uploads them to the company’s server.

According to the developer, the reason for this behavior was that they had planned to roll out a “Find Your Friends” feature, and the contacts data was to be used to cross reference with the app’s database of user names. Unfortunately, again according to the developer, an unspecified technical difficulty delayed implementation of that feature indefinitely.

If that sounds like a flimsy excuse to you, you’re not alone, and the discovery has raised the eyebrows of privacy and security experts alike. Unfortunately, there’s not much to be done about it except uninstall the app, but even then, they’ve already got your contact list, so there’s nothing to be done on that front.

This is just a bad business for a legitimate app developer to be in. If they wanted to collect that information, then they should have at the very least let their users know that it was happening, and even better, provided a means of opting out of the collection of that data.

The fact that they did neither of those things, and provided what is, by all appearances, an incredibly flimsy excuse as a response when caught, certainly paints them in a bad light, even if they didn’t have any nefarious intentions.

In any case, be warned. If you use the app, just know that it’s not being honest about the data it’s collecting, regardless of the name of the program.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.