In April 2010, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jeff Stalnaker, CEO & President of First Orion, at RIM’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando. The company is the maker of PrivacyStar, a privacy application that provides call blocking and the ability to report violators of Do Not Call laws to the relevant authorities in the United States and Canada. PrivacyStar was originally on the Blackberry smartphones. A good start but I wanted to know when it would be available on other platforms. Jeff promised me that we would be see updates soon and today the company has released a version for Google’s Android. Additionally, the company added Caller ID which displays the name of the person who is calling as the mobile phone is ringing or buzzing. Now I can finally discover who is behind that one annoying number that keeps calling me and never leaving a voicemail — and block it! PrivacyStar gives Android and Blackberry users the ability to block individual numbers, entire area codes or all private and unknown numbers. PrivacyStar subscribers can also enter wild card numbers to block an entire area code or to stop potential spoofed numbers. PrivacyStar also includes SmartBlock, which proactively blocks the most blocked numbers as determined by all PrivacyStar users. Users are able to select SmartBlock in their app settings menu to keep known nuisance callers from reaching them. Do Not Disturb with automatic text messaging enables users to send a custom text message while sending callers to voicemail.
As more people gravitate to using their mobile phone as their main point of contact, services like PrivacyStar will become an important component of managing communications. I don’t know about you but I am tired of credit cards companies, political fundraisers, telemarketers and charities calling me on my cell phone. In addition to blocking callers, I also like the ease of reporting companies that are actively violating the do not call list. I’d love to see this on the iPhone and Mr. Stalnaker mentioned that this is in the works. I understand the constraints with developing for Apple so this makes sense. This would also be a great service for landline phones which he says is coming soon. But good news, for those of you with VoIP phones like Vonage, the service is available today.
PrivacyStar is available for $2.99 (USD) per month or if you sign up for a semi-annual or annual plan you’ll get a discount. PrivacyStar is available for download at the Android Market, Blackberry App World, or http://www.privacystar.com.
(Note: First Orion isn’t a Lopez Research client. I just think the product is cool and will buy it when I upgrade to my next phone.)