Hit App Sarahah Quietly Uploads Your Address Book


Sarahah lets its users comment on others anonymously but it doesn't reveal the name and neither does the app allow users to reply to a comment. The popularity of the app could be gathered by the estimated number of downloads from the Apple App Store wherein it became the third most downloaded free software for iPhones and iPad. Created by Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the app is aimed to help people identify their strengths and weaknesses.

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. Interestingly, the app was doing the same for the devices running on iOS. Users can actually prevent the app from accessing contact data.

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Asked about Sarahah, Porter added, "I do find it concerning, mostly because the information that the company may be getting could be what other people consider very private, and you don't know the security of the company that is getting it". 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". According to a report from The Intercept, the app uploads users' phone contacts to the company's servers, for no good reason.

The problem is that privacy policy specifically states that if it plans to use your data, Sarahah will ask for permission. On iOS, the app says "the app needs to access your contacts to show you who has an account in Sarahah", and allows the user to choose between "Okay" and "Don't allow". He also tweeted that Sarahah now stores no contacts in its databases, which is impossible to verify. 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. Even if that's the case, Sarahah users might not be happy with this feature considering it could take the entire fun of anonymity out of the way with users being able to guess based on who uses the app in their contact list. Once launched, the app reportedly harvests all phone numbers and email addresses stored on users' phone contacts, without making any disclosure on the data collection. "See which of your contacts are on Snapchat!" and the popup on iOS clearly says that the contacts will be uploaded to Snapchat's servers "so you and others can find friends, and to improve your experience". Julian also noticed that if you haven't used the application in a while, it'll share all of your contacts again. For users who are anxious about their privacy on Sarahah, you can go to the Sarahah website and remove your account from the app.