ToTok, a chat app now under general suspicion as being spyware developed under the direction of the United Arab Emirates' government, was expelled from Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store about two weeks ago, as TechRadar and other sources reported. But journalist Kim Zetter, who's been following the story, reports that Mountain View has now relented, and allowed ToTok back into its walled garden. Vice has this afternoon published a brief rundown of the case against ToTok, including statements unnamed US intelligence officials gave the New York Times in December to the effect that the app is "used by the government of the United Arab Emirates to try to track every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound, and image of those who install it on their phones." Journalists and dissidents are said to be the principal targets of the alleged surveillance campaign. ToTok's co-creator, Giacomo Ziani told the AP last week that the app was legitimate, and that he has no notion of any connection between it and Emirati security services, who are believed to have been involved in its development through the security firm DarkMatter. Representatives of ToTok Technology Ltd. deny any connection with DarkMatter.
The Verge reports that Ring, the smart doorbell and home security system recently found to be afflicted with vulnerabilities, will receive a new dashboard designed to allay user concerns about privacy. CNET notes that Ring's creator, Jamie Siminoff, has both doubled down on his public commitment to user privacy and defended cooperation between the system and local police departments. Ring is now an Amazon subsidiary.
Facebook is also addressing concerns about privacy. At CES 2020, the company intends to display an update to its Privacy Checkup tool. CNET gives it a decidedly mixed advanced review. If you're interested in privacy on Facebook, then Privacy Checkup is great. But if you're concerned about privacy from Facebook, not so much. Menlo Park will still know an awful lot about you.