YACB - Crowdsourcing alternative to Truecaller | Privacy focused

262°
Deal Cadet
AjgarJurraat

Guys,

TLDR: Avoid Truecaller due to privacy issues, data sharing, advertisement & spam targeting. Instead use a FOSS solution such as Yet Another Call Blocker (YACB) to import our own crowdsourced blacklist and beat spam progressively.

Latest APK link

Gitlab Intro link


YACB - Although the app was last updated in Sep 2021 but it works just fine. If you are bothered about vulnerabilities, it doesn't have internet access unless you give to it while reporting spam online. It's a very light app with negligible battery footprint.

Main synopsis:

Everybody gets lot of spam calls & I used to use truecaller to beat it. Although Truecaller is itself a very privacy invasive app and takes in a lot of data and permissions to use on phone, I didn't have a choice. Until recently, I got to know people have been getting usually lot of spam calls who have Truecaller installed as a pattern so it may be a case that Truecaller spots spam calls for us but also provides legit end user numbers to spammers too.

So to experiment and confirm the pattern:
1. I unlisted my no from TC (using their tedious process - they make it hard for you to go away). (Also, they never really unlisted my number despite of the process)

2. I knew in the back of the mind, spam calls won't vanish altogether so I installed Yet Another call blocker (YACB) from FDroid in order create my own blacklist.

3. Enable full DND from telecom operator.

Observations:

Spam calls reduced drastically. Earlier (during TC) I used to get roughly 7-8 spam calls everyday. Now it reduced to 0-3 per day. Sometimes no spam calls on some days. This did confirm the duplicitous face of TC towards users and spammers.

Going forward, I opened one category for receiving job calls in DND. This obviously increased spam a bit but I was also reporting it as spam from the YACB app and adding the number to my personal blacklist. This kept a bit of a leash on the spam again but it's an ongoing fight. I also added some regex patterns for some spam calls which cut down Indusind bank calls forever (this is an example - I couldn't find many regex patterns for spammers as such on the internet).

In order to make it better, I'd require everyone's support to improve the blacklist for all of us. Greater the crowdsourcing, better will be the result to beat spam.

I have open-sourced my blacklist for people to use and have given editor rights for people to add their own blacklist numbers.

Here's the link to my blacklist for you to use.

This list is importable in YACB app.

Method to add numbers in the blacklist. (Add the number only if it doesn't exist in the list already - duplicates are worthless)

1. There are 6 columns in the file - ID, name, pattern, creationTimestamp, numberOfCalls, lastCallTimestamp

2. In order to add a new entry - ID, name, pattern and creationTimestamp matter. Leave the last two.

3. Add in the new entry as follows

ID: <next ID from the previous one>

name: <spam name you want such as Loan, Credit card etc>

pattern: <full phone number including country code. e.g. +919876543210>

<in case you want to add a pattern, write something like +9198765* - meaning number starts from 98765xxxxx and x could be any digit>

creationTimestamp: <Copy paste from the last row itself>

</br>

</br>

Download the file. Backup and clean up your existing blacklist in YACB and import the new file in YACB. You are good to go.

I'll be cleaning up the blacklist from time to time to remove duplicates and clean up errors.

This way we can improve our blacklist and try to beat spam. We may not be able to scale it to TC levels but we are keeping our data in control. Privacy is an inherent right and it matters!


Beating spam is a journey and not a destination. It's a constant battle.

P.S.: You can report the spam number to 1909 as well. I started this too and keep on doing it time to time.


UPDATE: Some additional context reads:

I ran into these posts & these are all experiential.

https://reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/8gkf63/tr...

https://reddit.com/r/Android/comments/6a9l2n/tr...

https://restofworld.org/2022/how-truecaller-bui...

https://reddit.com/r/india/comments/wzpfmt/true...


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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Benevolent Benevolent
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No point in reserving as after 24 hrs, you can't edit. 

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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Deal Lieutenant Deal Lieutenant
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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Benevolent Benevolent
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No point in reserving as after 24 hrs, you can't edit. 

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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Tried 2 fdroid apps, felt useless. One was this, other was Silencer.

Now I just turn on phone DND & have set it to ring only from contacts or repeat callers. 

Unknown numbers will ring if they repeat & that way, it will show urgency. If a spammer repeats a call, I have a script ready with the worst Gaali(s) possible that I'm going to blast at them. It's female focused since most spammers turn out to be girls in my case who've bought BigBasket leaked data & sell tour memberships, vouchers etc.

After blasing the script at them, I complain using DND complaint form their number so that it's restricted or disconnected. Multiple numbers have been disconnected using through my complaint & that's satisfying.

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Glad you have a set workflow in place. My aim is to establish data privacy and avoiding spam and ads. This may help someone else who is still facing a problem.

YACB uses Should I Answer's DB which is not so exhaustive as compared to TC, as people hardly use Should I Answer. Terming it as useless wouldn't be fructuous as such.

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Deal Lieutenant Deal Lieutenant
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seems like we can give it a try. Thanks for sharing @AjgarJurraat

Finance Mentor Finance Mentor
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I am using turecaller since long time and pretty comfortable with it. Don't know why you feel they are giving your number to spammers? 

Generous Generous
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They take not only your number /name /occupation, address etc.

But they also upload your all contacts data (for example you've saved contact +919123456789 as Modi, secretary internal affairs, company :govt of India, birthday :6th june 1970,address, 51th avenue, Pradhan Bhavan, New Delhi - 01,with his photo. All this data is uploaded by TC.. I had uninstalled TC 5yrs ago when I found out about this(their privacy policy itself mentioned this, which you've to agree before you can use the app,ianw). I was using browser bookmark to manually find unknown missed call numbers, this way TC won't be able to steal info from me! 

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Helpful Helpful
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That after call popup which does not stop is the worst

Generous Generous
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You can disable the permission from settings. But then you won't be getting popup for incoming calls also! 

replyuser
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