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How does true caller work?

Discussion in 'Computer Science | IT | Networking' started by Manish Goyal, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Manish Goyal

    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    #1
  2. Ankita Katdare

    Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    I was pretty much intrigued when I first saw this app. I can block the numbers I don't want to get called from. Very few unknown number calls.
    So what I did was check the FAQ pages of TrueCaller website. They've mentioned there that they get their data through partnerships from stuff like yellow pages in India. With an aim to become 'the ultimate global phonebook' :cautious:, they have created a huge database (also contributed by its users). So, yes their data is crowd-sourced they say.
    I think it is crazy! They ask users to upload their contacts from phonebook into their database, which is in turn searched to reveal identification.

    And apparently, India is one of their largest market! o_O [1.6 Million Indian Users and growing]

    There was a huge report on Economic Times where privacy concerns were raised when phone number of Cabinet Ministers - P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal also celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, SRK and industriaslists Ambani & Mittal - where found on the database of this Swedish app maker. I am wondering how telemarketers must've benefited from this app.

    Mobile phone numbers are surely not the first thing you want to be publicly accessible. It is risking the privacy of uninformed users.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    #2
  3. lal

    lal
    Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    I just checked their website. I feel its a breach to privacy :mad:
    I tried searching a few numbers in my contacts including my own. It clearly showed my name :eek: (the way it was saved in my friend's or friends' contact list(s)). Eighty percent of the numbers I searched showed the name of the person it belonged to. The rest are lucky for the time being! hmm..!
     
    #3
  4. Kaustubh Katdare

    Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    It looks like they scan and upload the entire phonebook to their servers. So if you install their app, it will make a note of all your contacts and upload them to the server. But that's just my guess, otherwise they have no way to know which number belongs to whom. They seem to have built a big library of number. I'm quite sure this is a breach of privacy. They also seem to connect to the Facebook and LinkedIn and scan the contact information there.

    I'm still looking to know how these folks collect information. I'm not installing the app anyway - but I'm quite sure my phone number is with them. Welcome to the connected world, folks. You've been uploading all your information on Facebook and Google and now they own your privacy! Enjoy!
     
    #4
  5. lal

    lal
    Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    Its not necessary to Install the app to search a number. I came to know about this app just now. There is a search option in their website :thumbdown:

    I think it works exactly the same way you mentioned biggie. Because my name appeared in the search result as saved in my friend's contacts list. And many other names were just 'nicks' not the official full ones. May be we should save our own number in the contacts list by a fake name and then install the app to confuse it :rolleyes:

    uh! The developers are pretty sure no one reads the loooong usage terms and conditions, license and privacy policies before installing anything. "I accept your terms and conditions" is all we read.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    #5
  6. Manish Goyal

    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    Yes technically too it is possible, an app can access any user's contact
    Recently when I was working coordova (framework for Mobile Apps Development) there is an api they provide through which you can access any user's contact number and save it into your location

    Nice didn't think about this,
     
    #6
  7. rana1991s

    rana1991s Certified CEan

    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    i think it is one of the possible reason that it gets the data about the user from the facebook because when i tried to search the number of the peoples having no facebook account, the replay came up with no data base found :thumbdown: , and when i tried to search for the people having facebook account it came up with the name of the user of that number,may be because truecaller asks for connecting with there facebook page for user database access, twitter, linkedin etc..o_O
    i am not saying that this is the only way or it is the correct way how truecaller works am just sharing you my experience with truecaller if you won't believe check out by yourself. :thumbsup:
     
    #7
  8. Kaustubh Katdare

    Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    There's enough personal data shared by people on various social networking websites like Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter. This data can be used by the companies to make your information available anywhere. TrueCaller may have access to this data that they use to identify phone numbers correctly.

    I hope this doesn't cause any security breaches.
     
    #8
  9. Kaustubh Katdare

    Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    I just found a video that describes how TrueCaller works. Check it out -


    In short, people basically upload their phonebook to TrueCaller's servers which contains names, phone numbers and other details. Once the information is uploaded, TrueCaller knows which number corresponds to what name. Each person who installs the app uploads the phonebook and the overall database at TrueCaller keeps on growing. So even if you shared your phone number with only one of your friends who is a TrueCaller user, your number has been shared with TrueCaller and if you call any other TrueCaller user, you won't be anonymous.

    It's a very simple concept that's executed very well. I have big concerns over the privacy breach this causes because your friends and relatives are sharing your phone number - something which you just cannot control.

    What do you think about TrueCaller's technology and modus operendi?
     
    #9
  10. Alan M

    Alan M Newbie

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electronics & Telecommunications
    Hi,

    Truecaller is based on an opt-in crowdsourced solution where our users can opt-in (only name and numbers) and at any time also opt out their information. It is always disabled by default. Also, anyone can at any time permanently unlist their phone number from our website.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you,
    Alan Mamedi
    Co-founder and CEO @ Truecaller
     
    #10
  11. Kaustubh Katdare

    Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    Good to have you with us, Alan. Good to know that TrueCaller allows opting out of the service. I'll leave this thread open for further questions.
     
    #11
  12. lal

    lal
    Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    That was really helpful. I unlisted my number.
     
    #12
  13. MKP25

    MKP25 Certified CEan

    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    Hi lal,

    Pls tell me how you unlisted your number from true caller database ?
     
    #13
  14. Kaustubh Katdare

    Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    Maybe someone should write step by step instructions to unlist your number from TrueCaller.
     
    #14
  15. lal

    lal
    Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    Unlisting a number from true caller

    • Goto http://www.truecaller.com/unlist/
    • Choose your country and enter the phone number in the relevant fields
    • Type the captcha
    • Press "Unlist" (A blue icon looking like an e-mail)
    Then they say the number was unlisted permanently and it takes 24 hours for the changes to happen.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    #15
  16. Geetam Bharadwaj

    Geetam Bharadwaj Apprentice

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electronics & Telecommunications
    The unlist option seems cool and secure but it can unlist any number. Its not like any specific that it will unlist only your number.
     
    #16
  17. lal

    lal
    Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    That doesn't matter. They don't ask the permission of owner of the number before adding it to their database. So being able to remove any number by any person is justified. No one needs to prove a certain number is owned by that specific person for it to be unlisted as far as the true caller staff doesn't ask the person's permission to list his number!!!

    Besides, who will want to advertise own privacy.
     
    #17
  18. munish tandon

    munish tandon Newbie

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electronics & Communications
    I am so frustrated with this crap app showing my fb dp everytime I change it . I never linked any thing with this app.
    My question to the ceo of this app what kind of app you have created?? Breach of privacy. M sure this app will be banned in india its just the govt. Who needs to know this breach? Your concept of stealing contact list is not at all welcomed in india..
     
    #18
  19. shamsher_singh

    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    This is not going well with me as anyone can unlist any number from web site.just to try i unlisted some 4 5 numbers.i didn't know the number also,i tried some imaginery numbers and got message that this number is unlisted.
     
    #19
  20. Risto Joseph

    Risto Joseph Newbie

    Engineering Discipline:
    IT
    Hi
    This is an awesome app. and i appreciate those who developed it.

    But still there is a bad part of it. every people is not aware of unlist the mobile no from your site . and people who has uploaded there names may not have taken permission to upload there no and disclose there personal information. so there should be some other step for adding there name to list like send confirmation SMS to the number which is going to list in your database.

    it will be more dangerous tool if some people... bad people want to misuse it. so if any body want to upload any number to your server using your tool. the tool must send confirmation SMS on your cost or person who upload number and app should wait untill they get +ve reply from them.
     
    #20

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