The Truecaller app is quite a popular app that is available on most smartphone operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows). I assume you know what it does, but for those who may not; Truecaller is a free app that when installed and activated, identifies and reveals an incoming caller’s details (name, location, etc.) even when the caller details were not stored.
It does a few other stuff too; like blocking spam calls and blocking calls from unknown numbers (when configured) and used to look up names/numbers.
So what’s Worth Knowing?
How It Gets Its Data
You deserve to know how Truecaller got your details even when you have never used the app.
Here’s how; when you (or anyone else) install True Caller, it fetches the details stored in the smartphone phone book and saves them to the Truecaller servers. What this means is anyone who has installed Truecaller has handed their phone book to the company. It also does this with any of the social networking channels (Facebook, Gmail, etc.) that users of the app decide to connect to the app with. The implication of this is that even when you don’t have the app, your details could still be present because someone who has your details saved to his phone book is using the app.
How It Violates Your Privacy
Let’s say you don’t want your name, phone number and other details put out there for just about anybody to see and that is why you have not bothered using the app. But someone who has these details on his/her phone book uses this app. The app then grabs these details without your permission and puts them out there. What that means is that the same details you didn’t want to make public has been made public by someone else who downloaded Truecaller and agreed to its term of use that grants the app the permission to have access to the person’s phone book.
A person could do a search using random phone numbers and ends up the actual details of the owner of those phone numbers.
There is relatively new feature called ‘Search by name’ Anybody can now do a search using your names and gets served your personal details!
How You Can Delete Your Details from Its Database
It is actually possible to remove your details from the company’s database servers. To do this, visit this link http://www.truecaller.com/unlist
Then type in your phone number (include country code). Next, choose a reason for number removal, enter the captcha and click on unlist button.
How long your details will remain removed from the company’s servers is something i cannot tell you. As a matter of fact, I did removed one of my phone numbers but unfortunately that didn’t stop my name against the number from appearing. Maybe it will take the company a few days to finally unlist my details
Do I Like The App?
I don’t! No denying the usefulness of the app but the way Truecaller goes about gathering data, raises a lot of privacy violation dust for me. I strongly believe stealing is also taking or accepting what was not given by the original owner; and that type of stealing is what True caller does!
Yes, I understand online privacy nowadays is elusive but for an app to literally create an account for you with your phone number and location and then make it available to the public is a no-no for me. I expect that Truecaller would at least send a message to a number for the owner’s consent before adding it to their database. I think the unlist option is a hoax and a big BS. It’s simply not enough remedy.