Reverse phone lookup, (also known as gray pages directory, criss-cross directory), as the name suggests, is a simple way to find people’s identities using just their phone numbers. This sounds simple, let’s say there’s a call from a stranger and you may want to know who this guy is, but you only have his/her number. The reverse phone lookup is going to unveil everything about your mystery caller. This lies a simple concept behind this, like how, back in 2000’s, people just used Google to find who their unkown callers were. What Google did was, it had a phonebook search operator, where people’s phone numbers were registered in it’s index. Those who wanted to find who their unknown caller was, had to enter the number in the search operator, and within seconds, Google gives back a name and their corresponding details. Though this seemed advantageous and gave people a solid upper hand, many began to feel this was invading their privacy. Due to numerous reports and complaints regarding privacy concerns, Google had to shut this down. And so, on November 2010, the easiest way to access free Reverse Phone Lookup was shut down. Even though this was shut down, it is still possible to perform it, but only in a less efficient way.
While there are many ways to find who your unknown caller is, the simplest way is jotted below:-
- Type the number you want to look up, in the Google search engine.
- It will display the number as how it is mentioned in a number of phone directories.
- If the number’s been registered to some business firm, it makes the work much easier, as it will eventually show up in the first five search results.
- If the number is of a private household, it isn’t likely to be shown as easily as it was in the previous case. However, if the person has cataloged his/her details to his phone number in any social media sites, the results are bound to be relatively easy to find.
- If the person’s name and zip code is already known, this makes the job all the more easier to find the remaining missing details about his/her identity. Type the person’s name and their zip code in the search box, and the results show up in no time.
The entirety of information which is present in the reverse phone lookup is uploaded by a group of people called phreakers, which is an unorthodox organization, consisting of self-proclaimed ‘telecommunication researchers’ who get paid upon this outlawed service. They operate by primarily collecting a large number of yellow-page directories, and uploading it on the internet, thereby making our jobs easy, but nonchalantly invading other’s privacy and arousing alarming concerns regarding it.
The Reverse Phone Lookup method is widely used by numerous law enforcement agencies and emergency services. It is used to generate the whereabouts and the details of a person on whom the complaint has been given, in a matter of seconds. But ironically, the phreakers, though being called outlaws, are inconspicuously assisting the law organizations continuously in this aspect, and have more than contributed for it’s reach to common people.
These days, Reverse Phone Lookup isn’t much of a big deal, due to technological improvements and enhancements. The callers’ locations and details now appear immediately when the call is made. However if the complete details of the callers is needed, the name and location is typed in the Google search box, as mentioned earlier.
In Australia, the Federal Court granted legal copyrights over White and Yellow pages to TelestraCorporation Ltd. However, consequently, those copyrights were ripped off by the Federal Court in February 2010 over another case in the same year.
In United States, landline phone subscribers can pay a meager fee, i.e., within a margin of $0.80-$1.50 to exclude their number from the directory. People can access Reverse Telephone directories by dialing 411 and obtaining details by giving the unknown caller’s number. Another easier way, is by surfing the web for reverse phone directories and finding the details about your unknown caller, as it isn’t a big deal here.
In United Kingdom, the reverse phone lookup is strictly limited to only Government and bank officials, who’d want to keep records and credible information of their customers over their bank accounts. Emergency Service Providers are also granted of this authority.
In other countries, the process of Reverse Phone Lookup lacks transparency and clarity in functioning, hence being unable to signify it’s reach out there. Not many people are familiar with this conception being used in daily life, i.e., people get curious to garner information about an unknown caller, but fail to acknowledge this process as their solution. There are even applications that explicitly use the logic of Reverse Phone Lookup, but people are unaware of this ideology.
Even in social networking sites, the server displays the location from where you login. If the same account is logged in from a different location, the user will be alerted promptly, thus ironically providing security to the user safeguarding his/her account in many cases.