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

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

Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the creator of the app did confirm that yes, Sarahah is indeed harvesting your contacts and saving your data to their servers but that is for a feature that will come to play later.

The primary argument against Sarahah is the fact that they are "stealing" your data because the app does not have a feature which would need access to your contacts.

Well, not sure about you, but collecting data for a feature which is not even available yet, can not be justified for most people. Rest assured though (we hope) - the app's privacy policy notes that it will "will never sell the data you provide to any third party" without users' prior and written consent unless part of bulk data used only for research and does not identify the user. So, there isn't even really a reason for Sarahah to have access to your email address or phone numbers, let alone upload this information in secret to its servers. "Even in an innocent use case, if the data is not being handled safely, a server breach could allow malicious parties access to this contacts data", he said. Although the app does seek permission to access users' phone data, it refrains from disclosing what kind of data it collects.

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Sarahah has projected itself as an "honest feedback app" that lets its users strengthen the areas of improvement at work and while letting them be honest with their friends. However, it still brings up concerns about user privacy and how various mobile applications have been treating your data. It also does not seem to make any functional use of the information. "The privacy policy specifically states that if it plans to use your data, it'll ask for your consent", he told the Intercept. The site doesn't ask for or require access to your contacts in the digital address books for you to use Sarahah.

With its growing popularity, Sarahah likely has a large database of contacts and other personal information. Julian was using Samsung Galaxy S5 with Android 5.1.1.

Sarahah is estimated to have been downloaded by over 18 million people worldwide from Apple and Google's online stores and until recently, it reportedly ranked number three on the most downloaded free app for iPhones and iPads. On both iOS and Android, there is no mention of data being uploaded to a server. For users who are anxious about their privacy on Sarahah, you can go to the Sarahah website and remove your account from the app. The typical option to search for your contacts is also missing.

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