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I am thrilled to announce that starting today, Whitepages will be powering the next generation of T-Mobile’s Name ID service, debuting in the new Sony Xperia® Z3 and available in stores now. This new Name ID service makes unknown numbers go away. With T-Mobile Name ID, you can identify unknown callers, receive alerts about spammers and scammers, and do it all within the native phone experience—that means there’s no app to find and launch—it works right when you turn your phone on.

This next generation of Name ID enables T-Mobile subscribers to see the names and phone numbers of who is calling, even if that person isn’t in their address book. By leveraging Whitepages’ proprietary data, the Name ID service helps T-Mobile customers: 

IDENTIFY the person, business or spammer/scammer associated with an incoming call or text, even if they are not in the user’s address book or contacts list, and receive additional information that’s auto-surfaced for outbound calls. Say goodbye to 10-digit numbers or unknown callers in the call history.

FIND information on millions of contacts and search more details on the caller or texter, including robust Whitepages contact data, spam score and feedback from other users on numbers associated with spam or scams.

MANAGE calls/texts with one-click blocking or unblocking, along with the ability to update your name and contact information for others to see.

What does that mean for you? When you make that call or send that text to a new friend or colleague, their name will automatically appear on your phone. There’s no need for you to input their info because Whitepages& T-Mobile Name ID does it for you.

Now imagine your airline calling to warn you of a change in your flight, or say it’s your bank calling about suspected activity on your credit card—you’ll know to answer those 800 numbers because Name ID will tell you who’s calling. Name ID also works for when you don’t want to take that call. When you receive a call from a telemarketer or call spammer, we’ll let you know so you can reject the call, block them and report the number as spam. All this happens right within the native phone, call history, messaging and address book of your device; it’s not isolated in a separate app that you need to find and launch every time you need it.

The new Whitepages-powered Name ID service provides T-Mobile users with the most advanced call and text identification system on the market. At its core is Whitepages’ analysis of over 18 billion calls and texts made by its users, as well as over 300 million phone numbers in Whitepages’ identity database.

T-Mobile Name ID is available exclusively on the Sony Xperia® Z3 smartphone today and will be included in new T-Mobile Android-powered devices moving forward as a free introductory service for 10 days, with the option to upgrade the service for a monthly subscription fee through T-Mobile.

Cell phone photo

 

Last week, Twitter announced a new service called Digits, which aims to replace email address and password login on mobile applications. Email addresses and associated password or single sign-on, usually with Facebook, are the most popular ways to log in to websites. While single sign-on works reasonably well in mobile apps, it is cumbersome to type in an email address and password on a small screen. Enter Digits.

Digits will enable the user to have their phone number verified by SMS and then as long as the same SIM card is in use, the user can continue to use the mobile app without having to log in. No need to remember which email address you used to sign up or a password. On Android phones, the SMS verification is seamless, the application will automatically detect the SMS message sent from Digits and verify the user and authorize them to use the app. On iPhones, the user has to take the additional step of entering the code sent to them through SMS. But once the verification step is done, the user remains logged in as long as they have the same SIM card. To get developers on board, Twitter is paying the SMS verification costs.

Verification by SMS and log in by mobile phone number is particularly valuable in many parts of the world where smartphones exceeds PC penetration. Many users in these markets don’t have an email address. In developed markets, younger users tend to use email less and are more comfortable with mobile apps and processes.

At Whitepages, we believe mobile phone numbers is a strong proxy for the identity of the user. Our popular Caller ID app identifies incoming calls and texts so you always know who’s calling and can decide whether you want to pick up or not. Mobile phone numbers with identity information (i.e. names) tend to get answered much more often than unidentified numbers. Digits uses the mobile phone number for a very similar purpose, to identify the user to the application. In both cases, mobile phone numbers are being used as a proxy for identity. 

 

Concept of hacking or phishing with malware program

According to Pew Internet Research, 68 percent of mobile phone users receive unwanted sales and marketing calls with one-quarter saying they encounter this problem at least a few times a week or more frequently. Clearly, call and text spam is a pervasive and growing problem in the United States.

Scam, spam and fraudulent calls and texts are sent from a rapidly changing pool of phone numbers, with new ones showing up every minute due to phone spoofing and other tactics that make suspicious activity difficult to identify. In addition to using mobile apps like Whitepages Caller ID, we suggest the following tips to “can the spam”:

· Hang up immediately. If you get a call from a government agency asking for a payment, hang up. No one from a federal government agency will call you randomly looking for a payment, even the IRS. The same goes for a call from someone saying you’ve won a sweepstakes; odds are you did not, and if you did, they can send you something in writing.

· Don’t call a suspicious number back. In the case of the “One Ring Scam”, the number looks similar to a number from the United States, but in fact is from the Caribbean and is not legitimate.  These scammers use phone numbers that issue additional charges to the bill of the incoming caller – most of the time consumers are unaware of the charges and they can add up very quickly.

· Never provide credit card information or any specific personal identification, like a social security number, to a caller that you do not know personally, even if you are familiar with the business they say they are from. Recent scams include calls that spoof energy companies and Microsoft technical support, for example.

· Do not pay money up front if you have been contacted about winning a contest or being accepted for a new insurance policy. For legitimate offers, an upfront payment is generally not required.

· Report suspicious numbers to help others avoid threats. Whitepages offers consumers the ability to report spam phone numbers through its Caller ID app as well as at Whitepages.com.

 

 

 

Fingerprint access

Last week I discussed how mobile phone numbers are coming to represent the identity of the user. One related topic I found fascinating is the Indian Identity Project. The Indian Identity Project, or Aadhaar, is an ambitious project to provide a digital identity for every Indian citizen, members of the second most populous nation at 1.2B people.  Over 400 million Indians live at what is known as the “bottom of the pyramid” or under $2 per day.  For these Indians, poverty has kept them out of many institutions and the general prosperity of the Indian economy.

The idea behind Aadhaar is very similar to the social security number in the U.S. except that it uses modern technology such as biometrics, smartphones and cloud computing.  Each person gets an iris scan, fingerprint scan, photo and a 12-digit identity number.  The images are stored digitally and can be easily retrieved to identify people with basic smartphone technology. The benefits of a digital identity are numerous.  It helps people get bank accounts, book tickets online and maintain health records. Plus there are no cards, which are usually counterfeited or stolen.  Because identity based on biometrics cannot be faked, Aadhaar can also be used to ensure those eligible to receive government assistance receive their full benefits without the middlemen who often take a significant cut of money and rations meant to help the poor.

Aadhaar is the largest and most ambitious project of its kind.  While the idea of a centrally maintained identity database based on biometrics would make privacy advocates in Western countries cringe, the program has widespread support amongst the general public. The benefits of a digital identity, available “anywhere, anytime, any way,” is seen as a means to participate in the economy and be recognized by institutions.

The project hit a speed bump in 2013 when the BJP government was elected to power.  Because Aadhaar was started by the previous administration of the Congress party, many in the new government wanted to cancel the program.  Thanks to Arvind Gupta, Technology and Innovation Head of the BJP, and others who faced political headwinds, the program kept going.  How the Indian Identity Project progresses and the value it creates for its citizens will be closely watched at Whitepages where a real identity for everyone in the world is our central mission.

 

Shakespeare, Mark Twain and others have said: “The clothes make the man.” When it comes to famous names in fashion, we think of iconic designers like Chanel, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Vera Wang, the recently passed Oscar de la Renta and more – all household names.

So as the season finale for “Project Runway” comes near, looking at our Names database, we asked: “Does a name make a designer?”

We decided to look at the popularity of the names of the hosts, judges, and finalists of this season of Project Runway and ask: Do you think a person’s name helps them “make it work”?

Heidi Klum:

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum

Only 1 person in the U.S. claims to have this “angelic” name.

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

There are 42 people in the U.S.with this name, but only one with a “Tim Gunn Save”.

Nina Garcia

Nina Garcia

Nina Garcia

276 people share this fashion arbiter’s name in the U.S., the most living in Texas.

Zac Posen

Zac Posen

Zac Posen

3 people in the U.S. share the name of Lena Dunham’s childhood babysitter.

Michael Kors

Michael Kors

Michael Kors

Only a dozen people share the name of this American sportswear designer, who, at age 5, designed his mother’s wedding dress for her remarriage.

Charketa

Charketa Project Runway

Charketa “Char” (Photo: mylifetime.com)

There are 6 people in the U.S. with this name; nearly as unique as Char’s designs this season.

Amanda

Amanda (Photo: mylifetime.com)

Amanda (Photo: mylifetime.com)

While this finalist embraces the fashion trends of the ’70s, her name reached is peak popularity in 1987, with the most people with this name living in Kentucky.

Kini

Kini (Photo: mylifetime.com)

Kini (Photo: mylifetime.com)

His mother says Kini means “King of the Morning Star” in Hawaiian; perhaps not surprisingly, you’ll find the most of the 276 people with this name in the U.S. living in Hawaii.

Sean

Sean (Photo: mylifetime.com)

Sean (Photo: mylifetime.com)

While Sean hails from New Zealand, there are over 400,000 people with this name in the U.S., and has been consistent in popularity over the last 50 years.