Why is the WhatsDog app no longer active
WhatsApp: "Dasta" stalking app reads data - protect yourself!
Another stalking app for WhatsApp is causing a stir: the "Dasta" status tracker can be used to spy on the chat behavior of contacts. We explain how users can protect themselves.
If you want to know when a certain WhatsApp contact was last active in the app, you just have to take a look at the chat history. Under the name of the contact you can find the last time they were online - unless the person in question has switched off the function for data protection reasons. This photo show shows how this works.
By default, WhatsApp is set so that every contact can easily see the status information. The stalking app "Dasta - last seen online" from the Russian developer Mitya Shkolov takes advantage of this fact. The program automatically reads the online status of target contacts and graphically displays the usage habits.
That is why privacy settings are important
In other words: users of this app can permanently monitor other WhatsApp contacts and control when they were online for how long and how much they chatted. If one compares the chat habits of two or more users with one another, one could theoretically deduce from this whether they were in contact with one another.
It has long been known that this form of WhatsApp stalking is possible. You can find out which data protection settings users should pay attention to here.
The Android app "Dasta" has been downloaded more than 100,000 times from the Google Play Store. According to users' comments, it works as described. However, many complain about the high costs. Accordingly, the free trial version is only valid for one day. After that, the developer will charge a fee starting with the second monitored contact.
Very few commentators seem to have a problem with the basic concept of the app. Only one user writes:
"That's sick. It doesn't matter who you stalk, but probably Crush, Ex, BFF, your partner. Leave it. Permanently monitoring someone with this app is therapy-ready. Trust is destroyed by something like that!"
There was a similar app as early as 2018
"Dasta" is not the first such stalking app for WhatsApp. As early as 2018, app developers from Mexico demonstrated that status tracking is possible. The iOS app "ChatWatch" had functions similar to "Dasta" for Android. However, according to their own statements, the "ChatWatch" developers did not want to earn any money, but instead wanted to make WhatsApp users aware of a problem. Many are not aware of how much information they reveal about themselves in the app.
WhatsApp offers users the option to hide their online status. It works like this:
- Open the settings in the WhatsApp menu.
- Tap on "Account", then on data protection.
- Under "last online"You can now specify who is allowed to view the status. It is best to choose"Nobody" out.
It is also possible to report the "Dasta" app in the Google Play Store as "inappropriate" and to persuade Google to check it. Fraudulent, offensive, or illegal apps violate developer guidelines. Data protection violations and dubious in-app sales can also be exclusion criteria in the Android App Store.
Online stalking is digital violence
In the case of the iOS predecessor "ChatWatch", Apple initiated an examination after the media reported on the app. The Android version is still available in the Play Store - as are many other spy apps that can be used to monitor the online activities of other users.
Stalking, harassment, surveillance and other forms of digital violence particularly affect women. The perpetrators can find countless tools online to spy on and control partners or ex-partners. Activists have been trying to raise awareness of the problem for years. The "Net without violence" campaign, which was launched in September, aims to help victims and persuade politicians and the judiciary to take harder action against users and providers of stalking apps.
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