At Hiya, we strongly believe that consumers’ personal information must be tightly safeguarded. In light of a recent news story, we feel the need to be clearer than ever on this point.
On January 30th, a story entitled “Click, Then Sue: Call-Blocking App Was Meet Market For Lawyers Seeking Clients” appeared in Forbes. For all of us working on anti robocalls day in and day out, the story is jaw dropping. Referencing the case “Tillman vs. Ally Financial”, this story looked at how the MetroPCS Block-It app was being used as a lawyer referral service, thus exposing the fact that First Orion, maker of Metro PCS Block-It and other apps, have used their apps to identify potential victims of TCPA violations, and then sold that information to litigation lawyers, for lucrative fees. We find it both ironic and reckless that a smartphone app used by consumers to protect their “privacy” is actually – unbeknownst to those same consumers – sharing their private information with plaintiff lawyers.
Nearly every week, we at Hiya are approached by law firms and lead generation companies offering us substantial fees for the practices outlined in the Forbes story. While users’ phone information may be lucrative, it is highly sensitive and must be treated as such. We NEVER have, and never will, consider this type of practice.
Hiya has always aligned with our users’ privacy, and while the recently reported scenario is unfortunate, now is a timely opportunity to reinforce our beliefs:
We are not in the business of selling private consumer information.
Hiya does not sell users’ information to third parties. This includes location data, address book information, and especially TCPA or FDCPA litigation leads. In addition, we do not use such information for marketing other services.
We do not access personal information without asking for explicit permission.
Should Hiya request access to information on a user’s phone, we will always require consent before moving forward. We have a very short list of mandatory user information (which helps us do our job), and we allow users to change their mind once they have provided optional information to Hiya.
If address book contacts are shared with us, they do not leave the phone.
While not required, access to contacts helps us identify callers under the name they prefer to see. It also helps us filter out numbers that may look spammy, but are actually legitimate (like your doctor’s office).
We let users correct or remove their own information within our services.
We want our users to be in control of their phone identity which includes providing the ability to add, correct or remove any personal information from Hiya’s products and services.
We are GDPR compliant.
Finally, as a global business, and true to our beliefs as a customer-first company, we are compliant with the latest European data protection regulations (GDPR) and apply these protection policies to Hiya users worldwide.
At Hiya, our mission is to provide a better phone experience. Our goal is simple – we want to arm users with real-time information to determine whether or not to pick up an incoming call. We can not do this honestly without ensuring that consumer data is safe, secure, and won’t be used in inappropriate ways.