The predictive dialer industry is sometimes talked about negatively due to unwanted calls being made to prospective customers. A just launched website designed by a Los Angeles private investigator has ignited flames from people who are in fear of their privacy being infringed upon due to the fact that the site gives users the ability to listen to any outgoing voicemail message from any U.S.-based cell phones they desire.
The website, Spy Dialer, is a completely free service to use, but at what cost to the freedom the American citizens?
"It's a tool to protect the privacy of someone who wants to know who a cell phone number belongs to without having to speak to someone they may not want to," Robert Scott, the creator of the website said in a statement. "For example, a parent may see some texts they don't like on their teenager's phone. They want to know who's sending the texts but they don't want to necessarily talk to the person. Spy Dialer lets them anonymously listen to the outgoing voicemail message of the phone number to hear whose phone it is."
A press release detailed that the just launched site uses direct to voicemail technology and can save and then play back the first 10 seconds of the phone number's outbound voicemail message to allow the user to quickly identify who is leaving the message.
The website is already causing a tremendous amount of controversy, prompting posts on Twitter (News - Alert) and other social networking sites to asking if people think this technology is “cool” or just way too invasive. In addition, the topic was even featured on "The Today Show," when a safe-dating expert relayed that Spy Dialer could be utilized as a tool for single women to check out their dates in advance to which Matt Lauer responded, "Now you're starting to creep me out a little bit!"
"The site is privacy sensitive," Scott added. "People have a real and legitimate need to know who's behind a cell phone number for a variety of reasons. Many people can't afford to go to websites that sell this type of information. We offer them a free way to find out and protect their privacy at the same time. Our goal is for Spy Dialer to give people information about unidentified cell numbers in a legal, free and privacy sensitive way. For published landlines, there's free online directory assistance lookups. Until now, for cell phones, they really hasn't been a true free cell search. Now there is."
Scott commented that his company hopes to see the service begin to be used by cell phone companies as a feature that will helps their customers to stop making unwanted calls. "Hey, if I have a missed call on my cell from a number I don't recognize, I'm playing roulette with my time by calling it. It could be a salesman I don't want to talk to or even a wrong number. It would be great to have a built in app on the phone that automatically spy dials the number and works like a free cell number search."
Only time will tell what the future of Spy Dialer holds, but just like any other new technology that has been introduced to the market including predictive dialers, people are sometimes scared of things they don’t have enough information about. Predictive dialers can bring multiple benefits to any organization including getting a customized message out to a large group of people in small period of time at a reduced cost, so let’s just wait and see what kind of advantages Spy Dialer offers before we judge.
Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves