I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard Sarahah, a new app that’s probably in everyone’s timeline.
Now, this news isn’t just about the misuse of this supposedly “anonymous feedback app”. This is about how Sarahah might be violating the privacy of its users.
Sarahah was made to provide feedback and constructive messages without revealing the identity of the sender. However, it’s currently being misused by a lot of people as a ‘question and answer’ platform (ala ASKfm).
Users of the service posts the messages they received to Facebook and then they answer it through their status’ caption. This resulted in massive Sarahah spam in everyone’s newsfeed, causing major annoyance to a lot of people. But that’s not really the main highlight of this story.
Initially reported by The Intercept, it’s said that Sarahah is extracting and storing your entire phone book on their servers for an undetermined reason.
Most apps do legitimately store your contact lists on their servers to supplement a service that they offer. But in Sarahah’s case, their app doesn’t have a feature that makes use of this harvested information.
Or at least, it doesn’t have that feature yet. After the reports break out, Sain al-Abadin Tawfiq, the creator of the app, released a statement on August 27 saying that they will use the gathered data for a “find your friends” feature that was “delayed due to a technical issue”. The founder also added that the feature will be removed in an upcoming software update.
However, at the time of writing, the patch that will resolve this issue is still nowhere to be found.
This kind of privacy invasion can be easily avoided by not granting them access to your contact list. If you’re on iOS or a newer version of Android, you can easily revoke its access in the settings.