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TrapCall gets wrong day to earn Apple approval

Controversial, anti-blocked-call app waited 201 days for Apple iTunes approval, getting it just in time for federal prosecutors to start investigating the privacy practices of the app business.

TrapCall  screenshot

After 201 days under review in the Apple's iTunes App approval process, the new TrapCall found an awkward news day to emerge onto the market.

The TrapCall app from Teltech Systems goes hand in hand with the $5-per-month service of the same name. Users who receive calls from any blocked number can tap the sleep button on their iPhones twice to decline the call and pass it over to TrapCall. The service runs the declined number and sends the user a text message with the name, telephone number, and address of the mystery caller.

With Apple's approval, TrapCall is now available for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android. TelTech claims its service and app are unique. The most obvious question vexing the app (a good band name) is, if the owner of the blocked number chose to keep their identity a secret, is the app a violation of that privacy?

It certainly doesn't help when--just as TrapCall finally got its moment in the sun yesterday--darkness fell on other popular apps like Pandora as federal prosecutors in New Jersey announced an investigation into how honest developers were in what information they were gathering about users--and what they were doing with that data.

Related links
• New service unmasks anonymous cell callers
• Pandora gets subpoena in grand jury app probe
• Facebook app privacy: It's complicated

TrapCall has other features, such as sending blocked callers a message that your phone number is no longer in use. That might deter more telemarketers, but do you really want to engage in that kind of misrepresentation?

Cell phone users have long been able to shield their originating number from display by dialing *67 before placing a call. However, cell calls placed to 800-numbers have been immune to this technique because the toll-free number is paying to receive the call. TrapCall takes advantage of that arrangement.

How steep in saucy irony is this entire approval notice when one considers the timing? After more than six months of dithering by Apple on whether to approve TrapCall, the very day it breaks free--surrounded by news stories about how long it took to emerge--the national media stocks up on stories about how invasive apps can be to citizen privacy.

If there weren't conspiracy theorists among the TelTech Systems ranks a day or two ago, there probably are now.

(Via Cult of Mac)