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Wednesday February 14, 2018 2:15 am

Shuffle readies PrivateLine app to aid in user privacy & battle robocalls

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Smartphones, Corporate News

T-Mobile robocalls

A few weeks ago, I produced a video giving you a look at Shuffle and both its Shuffle app and upcoming Shuffle PrivateLine app (embedded below) while outlining the massive privacy implications of using various 2nd phone number apps, which feeds into the current robocall epidemic we’re experiencing here in the US. Now, Shuffle is back with the results of even more custom research on this topic, and it’s eye-opening. If you feel like you’ve been getting nonstop robocalls lately, you’re not alone.

In fact, there were over 30.5 billion robocalls placed in the United States in 2017, an increase over the 29.3 billion in 2016. This isn’t something that’s slowing down, either, as December 2017 saw a massive 2.8 billion unsolicited (at best) or illegal (at worst) calls - that’s an average of 89.6 million every day, or 8.6 calls for every person.

For me, it’s at the point where almost anytime my smartphone rings, I look at the display and see “Scam Likely” or “Scam Caller” displayed as the caller ID, thanks to T-Mobile’s built-in protection. 9 out of 10 calls I receive are likely spam that I never asked for - it’s not only annoying, but also disruptive. I use my smartphone as my primary business number to talk with brands about video projects and influencer integrations, and have never given my number out to enter any sort of contest, giveaway, or promotion - but you’d never know when the amount of phone call spam that comes through.

Shuffle is prepping for the launch of its PrivateLine app, which aims to be the 2nd phone number app that not only protects the privacy of its users when making calls and receiving phone calls, but also allows its users to conduct business from either a professional standpoint or something as simple as providing contact info when selling something on Craigslist. Without worrying that they may be giving up privacy to data scrapers - and it’ll automatically block the calls you don’t want. You know, the spammers, telemarketers, cold-callers, and the like. Shuffle PrivateLine can be your first line of defense in the battle against the robocall epidemic.

In the lead up to the launch of PrivateLine, Shuffle has been testing the various spam prevention tools of the major cell service carriers in the US - AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. Each service boasts scam and spam call-blocking as a feature of its network, so the fact that three out of the four are so far off the mark is alarming:

  • T-Mobile identified the most overall calls: scam, spam, and Caller IDs (91%) followed by Verizon (65%), Sprint (51%) and AT%T (25%)
  • T-Mobile identified the most suspected scam or fraud calls (90%)—6 times as many as the runner-up, AT&T    
  • AT&T identified the most spam and telemarketer calls (50%)
  • Verizon and T-Mobile led the pack in providing Caller IDs (both 78%)

Robocall results

While T-Mobile is great at spam, scam, and accurate caller ID, they suffered when it came to identifying telemarketers - and this is currently our best-case scenario with the mobile carriers. Verizon, and Sprint were each a little better than half, so it’s basically a coin flip whether you’re gonna answer a spam call, and AT&T obviously has a long way to go here in this race, only able to successfully identify scam, spam, and caller IDs 25% of the time. I can’t be the only one who sees that as a joke. This is a big, glaring hole in the mobile privacy protection that AT&T provides to its subscribers.

Stop AT&T Robocalls

This is the market that Shuffle PrivateLine aims to serve. The app allows you as the subscriber to always know who’s calling, and even why they’re calling, even if the caller isn’t an entry that’s been saved to your address book. No more guesswork, no more wondering if you’re gonna get roped into a sales pitch, no more sending everyone to voicemail as a way to screen calls.

This post is sponsored by Shuffle. If you’re intrigued and want to be one of the first to try PrivateLine, you can add your email address to their VIP list to get notified when things are ready. You can find more details on the research above in this whitepaper from Lionbridge.

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