Years before, most people were using phonebooks and physical directories to understand who was on calls. It happened mostly in case of fake calls. Like, when you receive a call from an unknown number and you like to confirm the authenticity before doing anything. Although tough and not completely accessible, it was the norm for years. Now, things have changed and the digital world has wiped off physical phonebooks too.
We are not talking about the private phonebooks you used to keep, but the public ones, where you would find the numbers of almost anyone in town. In this age, this public phonebook has changed into apps – and, out of the many you may find, Truecaller is perhaps the most popular and used one.
The Age of Truecaller and other Digital Caller ID Systems
In the first look, apps like Truecaller seem quite impressive – and they actually are. Just think of this possible scenario. You have been receiving a call from an unknown number, but you’re too afraid or anxious to answer the call without knowing who’s on the other side. Won’t that be awesome if the name of the person will be displayed along with the number? That’s what Truecaller does, as far as smartphone users are concerned. It should further be noted that you can always use the Truecaller directory as well. You can simply perform a search using a number and you will hopefully get the name as the result. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Despite all these things, have you ever thought that Truecaller and other apps do violate your privacy?
Once again, in the first look, nothing seems wrong. When compared to the physical phonebooks and other old methods, Truecaller is super-easy and convenient. But, the moment we think about how Truecaller gets all this information, things can start getting a bit confusing. So, to get started, we’re going to have a look on how Truecaller works.
How Does Truecaller Work?
As we said earlier, Truecaller works as a digital public phonebook. Every number that’s registered in the book is available for public access, along with some other information like name and social media performance. if you are still confused, you can search your own number and see what you receive in the results page. Most cases will turn out to be a digital profile of yours, including your name, social media presence and other sets of information as per the availability. However, the way Truecaller collects the numbers and their respective details is a bit confusing for most people.
Basically, Truecaller collects the phone numbers and other contact details from your smartphones. Yes, you heard that right. Truecaller gets all the contacts information from the contacts you and other users have got in their devices. Found your classmate’s name in Truecaller along with the name of your institution? Mostly, Truecaller grabbed the information from someone else in your class. However, the hard truth is something else: most people don’t know that their contacts information is being shared!
Now, folks, let’s start talking about privacy.
What Happens to Your Privacy When You Use Truecaller?
“Please note that no other contact information other than the phone numbers and thereto attached names, Google ID’s and email addresses will be collected and used from Your address book. Other numbers or information that may be contained in Your address book will be filtered away by our safety algorithms and will therefore not be collected by Truecaller”
We hope you understand what is wrong with the statement. Truecaller is pretty clear about the fact that the app will be collecting all the contacts you have stored in your device. While doing so, it will be collecting the attached Google IDs and email addresses as well. We hope you now understand why Truecaller is so big.
Making things even worse, here’s another clause from the Terms of Service of Truecaller,
Let us make this clear for you. When Truecaller collects information from your device, you are responsible for the sharing of the information. Suppose you have a contact named Clint in your address book. Now that you have installed and started using Truecaller, the details will be collected. The worst part is that you are actually confirming Clint’s consent for sharing his contact details via Truecaller database.
Can I Remove Your Number from Truecaller Directory?
Yes, you can remove your own number. There is an easy way to do that too. You just have to visit the official page of Truecaller for un-listing the number. Just follow this Link and type the number you want to remove from the Truecaller directory. You might have to enter a CAPTCHA but your number will be deleted from the directory in 24 hours.
The catch is that you cannot do anything about the other contacts that have been uploaded from your phone memory. Recalling the abovementioned case, Clint’s number would stay in Truecaller directory unless he or you un-lists it manually. We believe this is a bigger issue than we expect.
An Effective Alternative
We believe that most of you are using apps like Truecaller for recognizing spam calls and other telephone-based threats. Instead of Truecaller and other related apps, you can use an effective Mobile Security app. If you are going for something from Kaspersky or Bitdefender, there will be a feature for blocking Malicious & Spam calls from reaching your phone.
Of course, you will have the benefits of anti-virus and anti-malware protection. In the long run, you can have a complete protective layer for your Android device. It’s so much awesome than the privacy-harming issues caused by Truecaller, isn’t it?
It’s crystal clear that Truecaller is violating your privacy as far as the Android device is concerned. All contacts you have stored in the device are accessed by this application, without even giving you the slightest sign of any sort. So, the better option is to use your sense and shift to some antivirus or Mobile Security packages. At the least, you will be able to protect your phone from spam calls without compromising your privacy.