The Unknown Databases

13th December 2016

With unsolicited calls unfortunately becoming increasingly commonplace, consumers have recently taken to installing mobile phone apps to counteract this infamous marketing tactic.

Three of these apps in question, Truecaller, and CM Security, allow users to either block or reverse look-up a number to find out who it originated from. Sounds like a great idea and a handy and useful tool, but all is not as it seems…

… and your number, sir?

These three apps have come under scrutiny due to their ability to access your contact list and automatically add all contacts to their online database, unknowingly to most users and certainly their contacts. This rather unusual gambit means that millions (in the case of one app, more than 2 billion) names and numbers have been stored without the person’s consent and have become searchable.

This obviously raises security and data protection concerns, with individuals including former Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Jeremy Corbin and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, as well as celebrities including Tom Daley and Pete Waterman appearing on the list of names.

The caveat here is that whilst these names and numbers can be freely found on these databases, it is only possible to type in a number to find a name, not the other way round.

Safe and sound

You’ll be pleased to hear that Planet Numbers will never share your details with any 3rd party, nor will they ever be used for marketing purposes other than explicitly detailed upon sign up. Unfortunately, not all companies operate like we do, so be sure to remain vigilant when installing mobile apps in the future.