International organization demanding deterrent sanctions against UAE due to espionage scandals
Skyline International has expressed its concern about what has been published in press reports about the use by the United Arab Emirates of an application called “To Tok”, to control and spy on people around the world.
In a press statement published on its website, Sky Organization called on users around the world to delete the application immediately and wait for the results of the American investigation against it.
According to the New York Times report, which quoted US officials who carried out an intelligence investigation, ToTok is actually a spy tool that the UAE government uses to try to track every conversation, movement, relationship, assignment, voice, and image of those who install it on their phones.
The application provided the government of the United Arab Emirates with a direct means to spy on people, after the countries resorted to companies specialized in espionage and oversight agencies, to piracy and penetrate the accounts of individuals and obtain their information, but now individuals are presenting their data directly to a party directly to the government.
After a technical analysis and interviews with experts in digital security, the report pointed out that Breej Holding is behind the application that has recently spread around the world, and as the report indicates, it is an interface of Abu Dhabi-based DarkMatter, which is active in the field of electronic intelligence and intrusion, Noting that Emirati intelligence officials, former US National Security Agency employees and other agents who are tired of Israeli military intelligence, are participating in the framework of this company.
It is also of concern that the report included an American intelligence investigation, which led to the fact that the application “To Tok” is also related to (Pax AI), a data mining company based in Abu Dhabi and it appears to be linked to the first company as well, and is located in the same building as the signal intelligence agency in Emirates Airlines.
DarkMatter is an arm of the Emirati government, and has infiltrated ministries and government institutions in Iran, Qatar and Turkey, spying on FIFA executives, journalists and opponents, which Skyline warned in several previous reports.
And months ago, millions around the year downloaded ToTok on their mobile phones in Android and IOS devices, especially in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and the application became one of the most downloaded social apps in the United States last week.
According to what Skyline monitored, the application tracks the location of users through forecasts about the weather, and also searches for new contacts, when the user calls him, under the pretext of “trying to communicate with his friends”, and the application also accesses mobile phone registration devices, just as Facebook and Instagram do.
Also of concern and many questions are that semi-official platforms have promoted the application ToTok, as it is a free application that has long been “sought by Emiratis”.
Where messages arrived to users in the UAE during the month of December this year, alerts them to use the application, which indicated that it is a “free, fast and safe” application, with a link to install the application.
Later, “Google” and “Apple” removed the application “To Tok” from its own store on devices in an important step to follow the course of the investigation of the allegations of espionage.
Skyline International said that the information published in the New York Times investigation raises grave concerns about the security and privacy of people, and this requires the opening of an investigation by major companies, in addition to the responsible authorities and allies of the United Arab Emirates government.
Skyline International indicated that this is not the first time that the UAE government has been involved in surveillance and spying operations, as it has a long history in this field, especially in monitoring journalists, activists and opponents.
The human rights organization recalled Article 12 of the Universal Declaration, which says: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference in his private life, in the affairs of his family, his home, or his correspondence, nor for campaigns that affect his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law from such interference or campaigns.”
Skyline International stressed the need for the UAE to receive deterrent penalties, if it is proven that it was involved in exploiting the application for oversight and prosecution, which is a flagrant violation of the human rights stipulated in international covenants.
The organization also demanded that sanctions be imposed on companies involved in this serious violation, especially linked to the UAE government, calling on Google and Apple companies to verify the application’s involvement in chasing users via their phones.
The organization stressed the importance of international companies to educate their users in order to remove the application from their phones and ensure that there are no effects such as the presence of spy files and data theft that the application had installed on the phones.