Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Google Play restores ToTok video calling app after spying denial

'The wait is over', the app's founders wrote on Twitter

Giacomo Ziani, co-founder of ToTok, pictured in Abu Dhabi this week. He said the app does not eavesdrop on conversations and he is focused on getting it back on the Apple Store. AP Photo / Jon Gambrell
Giacomo Ziani, co-founder of ToTok, pictured in Abu Dhabi this week. He said the app does not eavesdrop on conversations and he is focused on getting it back on the Apple Store. AP Photo / Jon Gambrell

The free video messaging service Totok has been reinstated on the Google Play store, the company said on Saturday.

The app was removed a week ago over unfounded allegations it was used for government spying.

"The wait is over. We are happy to inform you #ToTok is now available for download on the Google Play Store," a statement on ToTok's Twitter account said.

On its platform, Google lists a series of "updates" to the app, including requesting access to permissions and data and a "newly designed dialog to ask your authorisation of accessing and syncing your contact list".

The app remains unavailable on the Apple Store, which previously said it was taken down pending a review.

ToTok was downloaded by millions of users, including in the UAE where services such as Skype are not licensed by the authorities. ToTok is licensed to operate in the Emirates.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority denied the accusations, saying UAE laws "prohibit any kind of data breach and unlawful interception".

Speaking to the Associated Press on Thursday, co-founder Giacomo Ziani said he has no involvement with any government and that ToTok does not collect conversation data.

Updated: January 4, 2020 09:41 PM

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