Here’s Why Little Cab and Truecaller Partnership is a Bad Idea For Users – Opinion

little cab
Image Courtesy CIO

Little Cab, the taxi-hailing platform in Kenya, has announced a partnership with Truecaller. The partnership seeks to enhance customer efficiency and safety through faster user registration and verification processes. They suggest that this will help minimize the risks of less verified users joining the platform and enhance trust in Little Cab.

Hearing of this partnership got me thinking, what does this mean for us as Kenyans. I’m an avid user of Trucaller and other ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt. All I could think of is, why would Little Cab take this step?

I’ve never used Little Cab and I thought maybe this could get me to join their platform. Well, I’ve done my research and I ended up deleting Truecaller > Funny, I know. We’ll get to that, but first, let’s understand this partnership.

Truecaller and Little Cab Partnership

Kamal Budhabhatti, CEO at Little, had this to say,

“This partnership is an affirmation of the company’s commitment to offer value, enhance the user experience, safety and further grow the service regionally. The new service will enable an identification process, blocking unverified users from accessing the platform, minimizing risk and enhancing safety.”

Truecaller, in its part aims to help app developers and other online businesses verify and authenticate new user registration via phone numbers. In Kenya and Africa as a whole, phone numbers have become the primary identity for people to authenticate themselves. Under the arrangement, anyone who has a Truecaller profile will not need a One Time Passwords (OTP).

The collaboration is in the form of an integration system. Little Cab will enhance customer identity verification via Truecaller. The firm says that the exercise will ‘minimize risks of less verified users and maximize trust in the Little platform.’

That to me makes sense but not enough to validate them partnering with Truecaller. I can understand the fact they want to ease their registration and verification processes but this isn’t the best way. I have a few reasons why and the main one is Truecaller’s privacy loopholes.

Truecaller Privacy Breach Policies

Smartphone applications that assure user protection against unwanted incoming calls like Truecaller pose a major security threat to their users. Although most of the companies say that they do not share their data with other companies, they might be technically doing it in other ways.

For example, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun Ying and Carrie Lam Cheng both use Truecaller on their respective phones. They were surprised to know that their contact details were available on the internet via the application.

Once you download and register with Truecaller, they will fetch all your contact data and add it to its database. The list of permissions they ask for is ridiculous. They ask for access to your SMS messages, call log, contacts, file system, location, microphone, camera… everything.

So as long as you have saved someone on your phone, that data will be picked and their number updated on the database for all of the world to see.

Some would argue, however, that when you want something, you should be ready to give something else. Truecaller synchronises your address book and it doesn’t let others know that the data was received from you.

This pales into comparison as to how much information you are handing to them. The fact that the best feature they have is diverting or stopping spam messages is not validation enough.

Another thing I noticed is I can block a user, which is great, though they add the possibility to mark anyone as Scam. With that power, if anyone bores me or angers me, I can advertise that they are Scam and that kind of power shouldn’t be in the hands of just anyone.

Should Little Cab have partnered with Truecaller?

In my opinion, they should have held off the partnership. The information they will be handing to Truecaller puts the app in a higher position than it should be. It doesn’t state that they will be forcing their users to have Truecaller but they are heavily suggesting it.

Information is never really ours to keep. With the likes of Facebook and other apps on our phones ‘selling or giving away’ our information to advertisers and other third party users, scares the life out of me.

All we can do is try every little bit to curb this information flow. Finding this out led me to unlist myself from Truecaller and make this small step for myself in sight of a giant leap for mankind.

If you’re a non-user and do not wish your information to appear on the app, you can unlist your number here – For current users, to do this, you must first deactivate your account by going to ‘Settings’, ‘Privacy Settings’, ‘Deactivate’, then go back to the link and unlist your number.

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1 Comment

  1. Have you tried the little cab app?

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