Why TrueCaller Is the WORST attack on Your Privacy since Facebook

Adham El Banhawy
8 min readAug 28, 2022

There are a handful of information about me that I consider to be Personal Sensitive Information (PSI). My home address, my birthdate, my picture, and my phone number among others.

You probably can guess my gripe with Truecaller now based on this article’s title and the last sentence. But if you assume that I only have an issue with my phone number being collected by Truecaller (without my direct consent) then you are wrong. It’s not only my phone number that they collect, it’s all the other information I mentioned: address, birthdate, and pictures, and maybe even more than that.

If you are using Truecaller you should be worried. If you are NOT using Truecaller you should be SUPER worried.

Does this look consensual to you??

According to the Truecaller’s own website they collect their data in 3 different ways:

  1. Through partnerships with various directory providers globally — Ok, but WHICH providers?? Under which privacy laws are they governed, if at all? Are the clients of those directory providers consenting to their data being shared in this manner?
  2. Social networks — How unsurprising. Of course the social network giants will share their user’s data with shady companies like Truecaller for money. But that’s on the social network users not the social network platforms themselves; they usually explicitly indicate their intentions in their convoluted privacy policies which their users unwittingly agree to without reading.
  3. Additionally, all users registering to our app will be listed — you’d think this statement means that only the information of Truecaller’s users will be collected. And you know what? If that was the case, I’d be OK with it. Users can do whatever they want with their personal information. If they want to upload it to shady companies who criminally monetize it so be it. However, this statement is not completely true. It missing a crucial piece of information which I think many people (especially ones who are not tech savvy) do not realize. Truecaller also lists UNREGISTERED users’ information on their app.
Adham El Banhawy

Software Developer, blogger, and tech enthusiast. Currently developing software at IBM.