LOK SABHA ELECTIONS 2019: INDIA DECIDES

Truecaller throws privacy for a toss

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jun 11, 2018, 1:13 am IST
Updated Jun 16, 2018, 4:57 pm IST
The app can lead to identity theft as it shares the information that you may not want shared.
If you install the app you are giving away your relatives, friends and colleagues information without even asking them.
 If you install the app you are giving away your relatives, friends and colleagues information without even asking them.

Hyderabad: The Truecaller app which helps people identify calls from unknown numbers, is not safe as it captures metadata of incoming and outgoing calls and messages.

The app can lead to identity theft as it shares the information that you may not want to be shared. The installation and use of the policy of the app, developed by a Swedish firm, states that it gathers data which includes the content you view, search terms, websites and everything about your phone. If you install the app you are giving away your relatives, friends and colleagues information without even asking them.

 

India is reportedly Truecaller’s single largest market. The function called ‘Enhanced Search’ asks permission to “securely send your phonebook contacts to our servers”. Many people save contacts with names with relationships or place of work— ‘Krishna Mama’, ‘Abdul chacha’, ‘Rama DC’. Experts advise people against using it as privacy takes a toll on the app, even though it takes permissions.

Mr Prashanth, a technology lawyer and partner, Mishi Choudhary and Associates, said, “I do not use Truecaller and advise people not use it. Using the app is like giving the entire contact information which is sensitive. If I subscribe to Truecaller, it is not just affecting my privacy, but also that of my friends and others contacts.” He said the company takes the contacts to build its database. “It is harvesting your phonebook for their server to create a public telephone directory”, he said.

Truecaller requests permission to use the phone microphone and can even tell when a person has picked the phone, locked or unlocked it which is not required for the service it provides. Even if you don’t use the app, it has your information, because your friend has installed it.

An official from the Cyber Crime police said, “People think Truecaller is helping them block unwanted calls or in identifying callers. But the app takes all the data including calls and uploads it to its servers. It is a lot more surveillance than necessary. It is in their policy and people generally skip reading what they are signing up for.”

Using the Unlist service provided on the website, people can remove their details. The best way to be keep information private is by not sharing too much about you to any online service.

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Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad




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