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Truecaller is a privacy risk – how it works is what you might not like

(Updated: 30/07/2017)

Truecaller is a great application/service, it can tell name and any other available information of the phone number even if you don’t have that saved in your contact list. But here is a thing, did you thought from where Truecaller is getting all that information???

They are getting that information from all of you, users who are using the Truecaller service. By using the app you are giving away your and everyone else’s information – stored on your device – to the company, which they use to show names and addresses to others who search for some phone number or name. Don’t you think this is not fair with others? You are giving away their information without even asking them.

Truecaller gets permissions to track your precise location so that people near you can search and access your details much more easily.

You might wanna know how Truecaller actually works?

When you install Truecaller application on your phone, it simply uploads each and every contact and information linked to it from your phone’s contact list to its servers. When someone searches for the mobile number or a specific name, Truecaller uses numbers and their information uploaded from your phone to show results for that search. Actually it is using all the data uploaded from all around the world by the people like you and me to show information of some specific number.

If you want to search for any contact from Truecallers web interface you’ll need to sign in using either Facebook, Yahoo, Google or Microsoft accounts. Almost every person has shared his/her phone number on social profiles. If you sign in with your social profiles, Truecaller could access your and the number of your friends who have that visible for you. So, that can be the reason of sign in with social accounts.

Why I don’t use this service?

This service provides a feature to stop spam calls. But actually it is the reason of the spam calls and messages – not to be offensive, but I started getting calls from unknown numbers after my number was on Truecaller (thanks to my friend for uploading my information to the world).

What do you think will happen if anyone from this big world gets access to information stored by the Truecaller?

Actually Truecaller was hacked by the group named as Syrian electronic army. They were able to steal 7 databases which had access tokens of millions of facebook, twitter, linkedin and gmail accounts. Using which they could post on the profiles of users and access the information they wanted without them noticing it. Size of the databases they stole was 564 GB.

Now think, if someone had access to your profiles and your phone number… Yep, I know you don’t want that.

You should know, anything on the internet is vulnerable and is never secure no matter what. iCloud is among the most famous cloud storage provider, got hacked and private pictures of even celebrities were leaked.

You might have heard about Snapchat and even used it too. That was hacked too and hackers managed to pull out the information of 4.6 million users. In short I would like to say, your privacy is not safe if your information is available online in any format.

What should I do?

Best way to be safe online and keep your information private is by not sharing too much about you to any online service. Think of the information you share online is public, because sooner or later it is available for public. In my senses internet doesn’t have private section. Mobile phone number is the most private information these days. And you don’t wanna share that with the whole world.

Can I remove my number from Truecaller if it is listed there?

Yes, if you have your number listed on Truecaller, you can simply un-list it.

There are some suggestions from readers which I would like to share with you all here in post.

Truecaller also lets its users know when a person in their contact list has picked his phone and unlocked it. There certainly is a privacy concern here.

This could be annoying. What if you were busy and could not reply to someone’s message? He/She will see you used your phone but didn’t reply.

Truecaller request permission to use your phone microphone. This is absolutely not a requirement to provide the service they purport to provide, but certainly is a way to eavesdrop on conversations.

Long ago Truecaller included permission for using phone’s microphone when there was no feature available to its users requiring it.

My friends could just suggest my name without my knowledge just because they know me? What about what I want? What about my decision? This app should give people a choice to make, if you want to use the app, we will upload your details so that other users can see you and if you don't want to use the app then we won't store your details. What it's doing now is, you use the app, we store your details, you don't use the app, and we still store your details from a friend’s phone book until that day you will realize that we have them without your choice and come delete them from our website.

Truecaller can ask you to provide details for some phone number if they think you might know the owner, even if you don’t have that saved in your contact list. With this feature they can get your information even from some acquaintance.

Truecaller is doing great job, but it is just privacy risk for almost all users. And most importantly it is getting data of users and they don't even know that.
It is best app for some users while for others it is threat to their privacy. What do you think about Truecaller? Share your thoughts with us.