Since the very beginning of Truecaller it has been clear to almost everyone with sense to connect dots that this is a dangerous app. But it is also useful, particularly in a country like India where no one gives a damn about anyone’s privacy and personal numbers of people can be leaked from sources as innocuous as your mail delivery guy, who requires that you put in your phone number in a form before he gives you that latest Rs 50 discount voucher from your bank.
No one here has a sense of privacy. And hence widespread spamming. So Truecaller attempts to stop people from spamming you. But in doing so it actually makes spamming people easier, even if you may not realise it. Stopping spam calls is not really the core functionality of Truecaller. Not anymore. Finding someone’s number, someone who might not be an acquaintance, and then cold calling him or her has become a more important functionality of the app. And that is a big problem, my fellow Indian smartphone users
Indians love Truecaller. There are more than 130 million smartphone users in India who have Truecaller installed on their phones. This is almost half of the total user base that the app has in the world. “With happy heart, we rejoice over having accomplished a large feat in our Truecaller history. In a land far away from our headquarters in Sweden, but close to our hearts, India alone has now surpassed 100 million Truecaller users. The love of India is forever branded within the DNA of Truecaller,” the company recently noted.
Update: A lot of people have commented saying that the app doesn’t leak the numbers out in public. May be not in the proper “leak” sense. But it does put them up their in the Truecaller database for some degree of public use without seeking any permission from the people whose numbers it has. If you have a number, you can easily find out the name and address (at least city specific) of the person who uses that number from the Truecaller search. And if you have a name, even then you can search the database and get some details of that user, along with option to seek full number from the user. But the interesting bit is that the users, who is in the database of Truecaller, is not there because he or she wanted to be a part of it. These people are there because they trusted their inconsiderate friends with their numbers. That number was supposed to be for their eyes only but now it is up there in the Truecaller database, which by the way can be — and has been — hacked.