You may have seen or heard about some intelligent smartphone applications such as “TrueCaller App” or “WhosCall?” in this world of smart technology, which could tell you the identities of every unknown callers even before answering their calls!
When you are reading this, please note that this is not an advertisement, but a lesson.
What is “TrueCaller App” or “WhosCall“?
These apps are smartphone applications that have features of caller-identification, call-blocking, flashing-messaging, call-recording and others. They are developed and designated to assist the users to identify all unknown callers from all around the world by showing their names, locations, designation, or even their photos. They even provide a huge database for the users to enter any unknown mobile number to search for the caller’s identity and details.
You must be thinking that such apps are so brilliant!
Simply because you could know who the caller is even before answering the call, or you also could avoid answering scam or harassing calls.
But! Is this the truth?
After downloaded the Apps, they will require the users to sign up and register for an account via a standard cellular mobile number. Something familiar may then pop out to your screen where the apps request for your permission to access to your mobile phone book data. At the moment you click “Allow” button, the Apps will have your permission to access, read, record and copy the data.
Now, the database of such Apps is crowd-sourced from the millions of users who have downloaded the Apps on their smartphones. When the users agree to allow access to their phone book, they basically surrender all their data in their phone book and the data is uploaded by the Apps to the company’s servers. After going through the data matching system, they are made available to all Apps users to search upon. Therefore out of all the people who know you and have your contact number stored against your name in their phones – even if one person uses the Apps, your contact number and name would end up in the database.
What is the risk?
Let’s see an example!
Looking on the bridge side, undeniably, the functions of the Apps help to identify the caller before you answering the call. However at the same time, the other users are also able to view your personal details when they are using the Apps. In other words, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions imposed by the Apps to surrender the privacy of all your contacts in your phone book including customized nickname, email address, date of birth or even profile picture. Some people even saved their security passwords and bank account numbers in their phone book, just in case they forget them.
In this modern era, everyone can easily access to information through internet with a few clicks. We would never know if one day our details and privacy will be leaked to an unauthorized party, or even be misused to commit crime.
In short, by using these Apps, people know who you are when you know who is calling. In fact, there is no guarantee of information security and it infringes on privacy issues to certain extent.
NOW! DO YOU STILL THINK IT IS SAFE TO USE?
Please check your family’s (especially elderly’s) phones to see if they have downloaded similar Apps. If yes, you should know what to do.
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The information published in this article is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute any legal advice from the Yee & Partners. Feel free to seek legal advice from our professional lawyers.