Kara Swisher, NY Times (paywall) »

Privacy has been losing badly, as users have become the online equivalent of cheap dates to these giant tech companies. We trade the lucrative digital essence of ourselves for much less in the form of free maps or nifty games or compelling communications apps.

We’re digitally sloppy, even if it can be very dangerous, as evidenced by a disturbing New York Times story this week about an Emirati secure messaging app called ToTok, which is used by millions across the Middle East and has also recently become one of the most downloaded in the United States.

The name was obviously used to place the app adjacent to the hugely popular TikTok, already under scrutiny by American officials because of its Chinese origins and possible link to the Beijing government. In the case of ToTok, according to the Times report, it turns out that it is a spy tool “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.”