In today's day and age, protecting one's own privacy is more important than ever. Identity theft is becoming more and more common, and according to the folks at Shuffle Ventures, your mobile phone number is more vulnerable than your social security number.
Americans received 2.74 billion robocalls in November 2017 alone, according to YouMail. This was a 10% increase over the previous month, and a 15% increase year over year. Many of these calls are scammers, trying to prey on unsuspecting consumers.
Indeed, we've all heard of the scam where someone calls and pretends to be from the IRS, claiming that you owe them money. This is a very real problem, and it causes consumers to turn to apps that promise privacy features, such as blocking these types of calls, or caller ID.
But these can cause privacy issues on their own. Apps like Hiya and TrueCaller take your contacts and upload them into a database, and that's how they crowd-source their caller ID features. And then, of course, there's the question of what happens to that data after it's collected. One of Hiya's brands was removed from the Google Play Store due to its questionable practices. TrueCaller was investigated in the UK, and has since moved to an advertising-based business model.
Shuffle points out that hackers have gotten into databases from Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and there's no reason to feel safe with all of your contacts being stored with a service. After all, these apps are uploading all of your contacts, collecting information about people that haven't even used their services. In other words, you're putting your friends at risk, and not just yourself.
That's where PrivateLine comes in. It's a follow-up to the company's original Shuffle app, with an emphasis on your privacy. The app promises to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to tell you who is calling, and also why that person is calling.
The app provides a second phone number for the user, which adds an additional layer of security. If for some reason, that phone number gets compromised, you can throw it away and get a new one without the hassle of having to contact your wireless provider.
Most importantly, the app doesn't use crowd-sourcing to build a database of contact information. Shuffle says that it will never, ever harvest your contact information.
With the company's new technique of using AI and ML to identify who is calling you, the service will be able to block "spammers, scammers, telemarketers, and fraudulent callers - before they even reach you."
PrivateLine will be available early this year, and if you want to sign up to be one of the first to try it, you can do so here.