Accept! Accept! Agree!… Little do we know what we are signing up for before we download a new app which should supposedly be making our lives easier and safer. The BBC recently published that the phone numbers of former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, famous celebrities and millions of other people are being stored in databases that can be searched by the public. These databases are generally compiled by Apps claiming to protect you from spam and securing your identity – The Irony! Reportedly, these apps include Truecaller, Sync.me and CM Security. They require you to upload your phone’s contact lists before you can start using them. Thus, ending up with enormous databases holding billions of contact numbers.
One might argue that the app cannot function effectively without this data. However the alarming part is that the developers of these apps claim that you can search numbers and the database will connect it to a name, however you cannot put in a name and get a number, which feels highly unintuitive. Searches can be conducted on the app provider’s website without even installing the software.
The issue has been highlighted on an international level and measures would be taken soon. Also, one of these apps, CM Security, has halted its reverse lookup function and users can opt out of having their information stored too. In the meantime, beware before you agree to provide your personal data to any app service.