3 year old Google Play app suspended for updating interface?

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Our three year old Android app appears to have been suspended for updating it’s user interface, and increasing it’s transparency to users.

Back nearly three years ago we released Who Called Me for Android. At the time, our simple app would monitor your incoming calls and tell you if they were listed on Reverse Australia as being spam. Simple and effective.

At the time we didn’t put a lot of resources into development, so the app didn’t do much more than that. Fast forward to 2014, we decided to rewrite the app, partly to improve the interface, and partly to give it new features that would benefit the end user.

The biggest feature improvement was to screen calls as they were coming in, by showing an overlay on the call screen. So what did we do wrong?

REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of section 4.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement.

Please refer to the policy help article for more information.
We classify a user’s incoming and outgoing call and message history as private and confidential information. Apps which upload a user’s call or message history to a service without making this clear to the user and obtaining the user’s explicit consent are regarded as being in violation of section 4.3 of the DDA.

So what are we transmitting to our servers? Here is a log of one users session, with API keys, IP’s and numbers looked up blurred out:

whocalledme

As you can see, NO personal information is being unreasonably sent to our servers. The first call registers the user with our service so they can get an API key, and then the following requests do a spam lookup on the incoming numbers, so they can tell if they are spam. These API’s are even publicly documented here. An app called “Who Called Me” is obviously going to need to do searches on your incoming call and SMS information, how else would it function?

whocalledmetnc To add insult to injury, part of our on-boarding process was to ask permission to use your address book information for future spam detection. But the current builds don’t even make use of this requested extra permission. Google suspended our app for updating our interface and being more transparent to our users.

Our competitors, such as Mr Number, True Caller, Call Finder and Fetch That Number, all do the same thing as us, yet they are not banned. Fetch That Number and Call Finder even relies on our API to function.

Has Google stopped using engineers to investigate policy issues? Is common sense being outsourced?

For those interested, here was our app description, including permission breakdown:

Introducing Who Called Me 2.0 by Reverse Australia.

With over 250 million records in its database, Reverse Australia is the top reverse look-up service for mobile and land lines within Australia. Check out our website to get to know how we get the latest caller information from risky numbers through our crowd generated number database.

And now, with Who Called Me? 2.0, we’ve rewritten our android app to include new and enhanced features to protect our users from risky callers.

Caller ID
Get caller information every time you get a call from an unknown number and protect yourself from predators, telemarketers, and scam artists.

Block Call & SMS Notifications
Enable our auto-block feature and never be bothered by telemarketers and ads again!

SMS & Call Log Integration
We use our own algorithm to scan your call and sms logs for spam callers & messages

Contact Integration
With our enhanced contact integration, you will only get notifications from unknown numbers. Install the app and forget about it! But when that unknown caller comes, we’ll be there to keep you safe!

SMS & Call Log History
Target numbers individually and review message and call history in order to get the latest tricks from suspected scam artists. Messages stored in our app can be easily shown to the police. Protect not only yourself but also the people around you!

Customize
Are you a power user? Unknown callers are telemarketers 100% of the time? Don’t want calls from private numbers? Customize our app easily using Light, Moderate, or Strict settings. Change it to your liking, adjust security levels to your preferences and more!

So many permissions! What are they for?

TO PROTECT YOU!

Permissions Breakdown:

READ_PHONE_STATE – This lets us display caller information everytime an unknown number starts calling you

READ_CONTACTS – This lets us lookup your contacts in order to know if a calling number already exists in your contacts

READ_CALL_LOG – Using our own algorithm, we hunt down possible spam callers from your call log

MODIFY_PHONE_STATE – This lets us block phone calls

RECEIVE_SMS – This lets us read and detect incoming spam sms messages

READ_SMS – Using our own algorithm, we hunt down possible spam sms from your existing sms messages

INTERNET – This lets us connect to our servers in order for us to look up a caller’s spam risk score

ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE – This lets us check if internet is available on your device

CHECK_LICENSE – This lets us automatically register you in our servers, no need to login!

SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW – This lets us display an overlay screen everytime an unknown call arrives

ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION & ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION – These let us lookup your current location, letting us complete the required number from an incoming call. 564867 -> 0256487 if you’re in NSW

WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE – This lets us save spam calls and other information in your phone’s SD card

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Australia Residential Database October 2014 Update

We have just finished a major residential database update for October 2014, bringing our last update of the year. As always, this also represents a significant update to existing numbers. Here is what the latest update brings:

  • 56,442 new phone numbers
  • 15,972 new mobile numbers
  • 2,705,477 total mobile numbers
  • 16,080,282 total phone numbers

Happy reverse searching everyone!

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Australia Residential Database July 2014 Update

We have just finished a major residential database update for July 2014, bringing our last update of the year. As always, this also represents a significant update to existing numbers. Here is what the latest update brings:

  • 113,280 new phone numbers
  • 30,225 new mobile numbers
  • 2,689,505 total mobile numbers
  • 16,023,840 total phone numbers

Happy reverse searching everyone!

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Australia’s Largest Skip Tracing Database

Detective Desk
 

For those in the skip tracing industry, database access can be the difference between a locate and a skip. A good database has a strong focus on both identifiable and contactable records. Full names, address, dates of birth, email addresses, license numbers, passports numbers, occupancy information, all make the difference between going through several pages of White Pages results for hours, versus instantly narrowing down your subject in seconds.

We launched Detective Desk to match our existing Reverse Australia database, which is highly focused on phone records, to our other private databases, which focus on consumer information. We combine the hundreds of millions of records we have, with advanced search features to turn hours of searching into mere seconds. Couple this with our skip tracing CRM and you have the largest and most advanced skip tracing database in the Australian market.

Here are just some of the features Detective Desk boasts:

  • Advanced name search
  • Skip tracing CRM
  • MateSpotter integration
  • Reverse address search
  • Reverse email search
  • Neighbour search
  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Couple matching
  • DOB matching
  • Postcode research
  • Validation tools
  • Staff usage monitoring
  • Group account self management
  • Record exporting
  • Result sorting
  • Result printing
  • Lead search suggestions
  • Mobile phone status
  • Credit card BIN checks
  • Field auto-completion
  • Free training
  • Full-text search
  • SMS integration
  • Case notes
  • Case export and report
  • Agent call recording
  • Social network integration
  • Day passes

So if you do skip tracing, come check us out and see what we can do for you. https://www.detectivedesk.com/

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Australia Residential Database April and February 2014 Update

We have just finished a major residential database update for February 2014, and a minor residential update for April 2014, bringing our last update of the year. As always, this also represents a significant update to existing numbers. Here is what the latest update brings:

  • 111,600 new phone numbers
  • 62,079 new mobile numbers
  • 2,659,280 total mobile numbers
  • 15,910,560 total phone numbers

Happy reverse searching everyone!

Posted in Site Updates | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Australia Residential Database October 2013 Update

We are currently in the middle of a major residential database update for October 2013, bringing our last update of the year. As always, this also represents a significant update to existing numbers. Here is what the latest update brings:

  • 217,268 new phone numbers
  • 129,441 new mobile numbers
  • 2,597,201 total mobile numbers
  • 15,798,960 total phone numbers

Happy reverse searching everyone!

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Reverse Australia hits the 10,000 “Like” milestone!

Thanks everyone for supporting our service. If you think we can do something better, tell us!

We’re now up to 306 developer keys issued, 1,350 Android devices using our service, and we have 38,679 unique phone numbers in our caller complaint database!

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Telemarketing Fraud: How Reverse Lookup Services Protect You

In recent years, telemarketing fraud has become an increasing problem in Canada. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, “criminals use the same techniques as legitimate companies, but hide behind the anonymity of the telephone and attempt to defraud thousands and thousands of Canadians each year.”

There are at least several hundred fraudulent telemarketing operations in North America that routinely seek to defraud consumers in Canada and the U.S. Let’s take a look at some additional facts.

Reverse Canada Infographic

Telemarketing Fraud Facts:

As a result of the telemarketing industry, there is an overall loss of $3,827,880, in addition to the average consumer loss at $1,174. According to Private Citizen, telemarketers place 148 million junk calls a day. Back in 2000, the Direct Marketing Association received a record of 3,789 telemarketing complaints in one 35-day period!

Telemarketing is a nearly $500 billion a year business, and investment scams alone amount to losses of $1 million an hour. Additionally, charities make more money from selling your name and number (aka. “sucker lists”) to other telemarketing companies than from the donations they collect from calling.

On average, only 24% of what consumers donate in response to a telemarketing sales call actually reach the intended charity.

There are a variety of payment methods that telemarketers use to profit from their scam(s). Bank debit accounts for 23% of these scams, in addition to: credit card: 21%; money order: 14%; wire: 9%; debit card: 5%; telephone bill: 2%; cashier’s check: 2%.

Initial contact is made across a multitude of communication platforms. Overall, phone contact was the highest form at 44%, along with: mail: 37%; print:15%; fax: 2%; in-person:1%; tv/radio: 1%.

20% of scam victims are 30 years old and younger. Additionally, 54% of victims were between the ages of 30–60, and 36% were 60 years and older.

**To avoid falling victim to these telemarketing scams, visit http://www.reversecanada.com/ to use Reverse Canada;  the premier free reverse look-up service  for mobiles and landlines within Canada!**

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Australia Residential Database June 2013 Update

We are currently in the middle of a major residential database update for June 2013. As always, this also represents a significant update to existing numbers. Here is what the latest update brings:

  • 95,884 new phone numbers
  • 82,528 new mobile numbers
  • 2,467,760 total mobile numbers
  • 15,581,692 total phone numbers

Happy reverse searching everyone!

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Eset NOD 32 False Positive JS/Kryptik.ALB

Thanks to two concerned users (James and Dion), we were alerted to Eset NOD32 incorrectly reporting our site as having a trojan. The claimed virus is JS/Kryptik.ALB.

We’ve investigated the matter extensively and determined someone over at Eset isn’t doing their job properly. They flagging chunks of encoded javascript as being a virus.

If you are using NOD 32, we would advise you to change your virus scanner to a less ridiculous company. This one is clearly irresponsible in what they flag as a virus.

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