Never heard of TrueCaller? They might have heard about you. Here is how you can unlist yourself
Could an app you have never even heard of put you at risk? This is what happened to Chloe (real name has been changed), an investigative journalist exposed by an app that her source was using.
Her source was using TrueCaller, an app that aims to identify phone numbers so users can filter out calls, even if it is from a number they have never encountered before. TrueCaller relies on users tagging numbers who are calling them. And when your number is tagged there is no way for you to know that you are in TrueCaller’s database.
Chloe’s story, which we are publishing today, is evidence of the concrete threat that TrueCaller can be to those working in a hostile environment.
This is not the first time TrueCaller is called out for their bad practice. Back in 2017, the Article 29 Working Party, an independent European advisory body on data protection and privacy (now replaced by the European Data Protection Board under the EU General Data Protection Regulation), had already questioned TrueCaller’s compliance with data protection laws precisely because they process non-users’ data without their consent.
We asked TrueCaller to step up and to send an SMS to inform non-users when their number has been entered in the database. Unfortunately, TrueCaller is currently refusing to consider this option.
However, there is already something you can do if you are concerned about your number being entered in the TrueCaller database.
TrueCaller has an “unlisting” option for non-users. Go to this page: https://www.truecaller.com/unlisting and enter your phone number.