Some applications like Truecaller, Hiya, or TrapCall offer a caller identification feature, but also automatic call blocking from potential spammers. If they prove very useful, their practices regarding the processing of personal data are worrying.
Millions of people use applications like TrueCaller and Hiya to know who the callers are in case their phone numbers are not in their phonebook. They also offer an option to automatically block calls that may be unwanted. This is a fairly effective solution to complete the Bloctel service and its offer of opposition to canvassing.
Truecaller Hiya: applications very fond of your personal data
Dan Hastings, a security researcher at NCC Group reveals that several applications offering such services are true aspirators of personal data. Three applications were analyzed by the researcher: TrueCaller, Hiya, or TrapCall. Truecaller's publishers were denouncing the phenomenon of unwanted calls a few months ago, stating that canvassing had accounted for more than 17 billion calls worldwide in 2018.
As is often the case with companies in the Tech universe, user data is not collected to be rigorously protected, quite the contrary. "These apps share people's phone numbers with data analytics companies, review your text messages and phone calls, and let you know what apps you have on your device," says the researcher in a report published on his blog.
Some of this data is also sent to Facebook which as a reminder has just been fined several billion euros for this kind of practice. The publishers of these applications were quick to react. A spokesperson for TrueCaller acknowledged that the application was sending data when the application was open, but claims to have deployed a patch. Same story on the part of Hiya who defends itself by saying that the application collects certain information when it is open but denies that it collects personal data or that it shares them with third companies.