Hit App Sarahah Quietly Uploads Your Address Book

Hit App Sarahah Quietly Uploads Your Address Book

The "honesty app", Sarahah has gone viral soon after being launched.

The app, which is fast gaining popularity has been downloaded by over 18 million people from Apple and Google's online stores, according to estimates, making it the number three most downloaded free software title for iPhones and iPads.

In conclusion, for Sarahah users concerned with privacy is that they do not need to download the service app but can use the features like sending messages, register and receiving messages on Sarahah, via a website.

The app's partial interest in your contacts is not hidden though. He further added that the app will remove the data request with the next update. This essentially means that the company is collecting data from users for a new feature which doesn't even exists as of today. However, the removal of the functionality was "delayed due to a technical issue".

Sarahah app is uploading your entire contacts book to their server and this is not good news for privacy. On both iOS and Android platforms, Sarahah asks for permission to access each user's phone contacts.

On questioning the behaviour, Sarahah founder, Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq said that the contacts are uploaded "for a planned "find your friends" feature". He reasoned that this feature would help in letting users find their friends on Sarahah. He also tweeted that Sarahah now stores no contacts in its databases, which is impossible to verify. The app mentions on the store that they need access to contacts and it is a permission that you agree upon while installing the app. Apparently, the app is uploading users' phone numbers and email addresses in the address book to the company's servers, which was spotted by Zachary Julian, a senior security analyst at Bishop Fox when he installed the app on his Android smartphone, a Galaxy S5 running Android 5.1.1. Although, Sarahah does ask for permission to access contacts, it does not disclose that it uploads such data, nor does it seem to make any functional use of the information.

However, if you don't want that, you have the option to prevent the app from accessing your phone contacts and still use it.

On a related note, it is very common for Android apps to secretly team up and steal your data.

Still, if Sarahah intends to continue scooping up user's contact data via mobile apps, Julian believes a more responsible path for the company would be to specifically inform the user about what data they are giving up and where it is going - and to provide them with a legitimate reason as to why the app actually needs it.

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