Nobody likes automated, spam phone calls. And for years, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission have taken numerous measures to allow people to opt out or block so-called robocalls, primarily because of the personal privacy implications involved. But could blocking robocalls backfire and actually jeopardize your privacy?
So, what is a privacy-interested consumer supposed to do?
Of course, I couldn't find the right place to report my findings and ended up filing a claim with customer support for apps violating user privacy. One company was actually nice enough to publish the email for their data protection officer, but the message bounced back when I reached out. After several attempts to contact these companies I only got one vague response back. They said that the matter will be "looked into.”
Not exactly reassuring.
Hastings also found spam-blocking apps that had access to users' phone numbers, contacts, text messages, and voicemails -- all without properly advising consumers how that information was being used, stored, or shared. Blocking robocalls is great, but if you're handing your personal data over to some other unknown entities, is it worth having your information compromised?