Hands-on with a phone number harvesting app


Three mobile phone apps that help users block spam calls have been building up searchable databases of people’s names and phone numbers – sometimes without their permission.

A report from Hong Kong investigative news agency Factwire found that apps CM Security, Sync.ME and Truecaller have built up databases with billions of people’s phone numbers – including top politicians in Hong Kong and the UK.

The apps let users “reverse look-up” calls from numbers they do not recognise – but take much of their data from users’ contact lists.

CM Security says it has temporarily halted its “reverse look-up” function to address privacy concerns, while Sync.ME and Truecaller say people can opt out from their databases via their websites.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38103895

Reporting by the BBC’s Helier Cheung in Hong Kong

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