No, Sarahah is Not 'Stealing' Your Contact Data!

Sarahah

The new viral app that allows people to receive anonymous messages has already gained a lot of attention due to cyberbullying. More intriguingly, there doesn't seem to be a reason for why the company would need to take such an ill-advised action in the app's current form. Interestingly Sarahah appears to be doing the same on iOS as well. "The database doesn't now host contacts and the data request will be removed on next update", he continues.

Sarahah's popularity skyrocketed in the US, UK and other western as well as Asian countries earlier this year, after Arab expats in Canada began using the app, Mashable reported. He stated that the feature was obstructed by "technical issues" and that a partner, who he has stopped working with, was supposed to remove it from the server but "missed that". This app allegedly steals your phone's contacts and transfers them to the company's server.

Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, Sarahah's founder informed that the contacts were uploaded for "for a planned "find your friends" feature" which is yet to be released.

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As per reports from security analyst Zachary Julian the app uploads users phone contacts into the company servers and all of this is done without any known goal. Julian reportedly found that the same occurs on iPhone, and that the app will also re-download all of your contacts if you haven't accessed it on your phone in some time.

Sarahah portays itself as an app to let users "receive honest feedback" from friends and employees but the app is collects more than just feedback messages.

"As soon as you log into the application, it transmits all of your email and phone contacts stored on the Android operating system", he said, later confirming the same happens on iOS. That's a pretty clear case of an app that can, and probably does, compromise your Contacts and the anonymity of everyone you know. He also tweeted that Sarahah now stores no contacts in its databases, which is impossible to verify.

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On a related note, it is very common for Android apps to secretly team up and steal your data. In the privacy policy page, it has been stated specifically that if it plans to use your data, it will ask for consent. However, you can still refuse to give the permission and yet continue to use the app. Things get murky especially since the app doesn't offer any feature that would require access to your contacts.

If you are a Sarahah user, you can check the permissions on iOS from Settings Sarahah. And that site doesn't ask for or access contacts from any of your digital address books.

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