One of the things that annoy me is *ring* oh, hold on. I’m getting a call. Hello? Sorry wrong number. Where was I, oh yes, so what annoys me is when you *ring*, just a second. Yes hello? No. No sorry. No I don’t want a sign up. Put me on your do not call list. Sorry about that. As you can probably tell it’s those types of calls that get under my skin. I’m talking about the unknown/private numbers that make your BlackBerry ring. Every time one of those sneaky calls come in, you are unsure if you should answer or not. Is it important? Is it an emergency? Is it an ex? Is it a telemarketer? There are only two ways to find out; answer the call or wait for a voicemail message.
PrivacyStar takes the power from the unknown and places it back into your hands. Besides blocking the unknown/private numbers, you can also perform reverse lookups, block numbers from your call log and also report any numbers that do not adhere to Do Not Call lists. Let’s get into it before I get anoth *ring*…sigh…
PrivacyStar was developed by First Orion Corporation and launched in December 2009. According to their website, the application is available for BlackBerrys running OS 4.5 or higher (both touch and non-touch). CrackBerry App Store says version 4.3 is also supported. The version that was reviewed was version 1.0.67, which has a file size of 1.1 MB. In order to use the PrivacyStar application, you will need to set up an account with them first. PrivacyStar is available on a subscription basis, costing users $2.99 per month.
Before I get started, let me be the voice of reason and state something; sure you can block calls, but if you are trying to avoid some sort of responsibility, it’s best to deal with it than hide your head in the sand.
PrivacyStar makes it quite easy to put the squeeze on unwanted callers; so easy that you don’t even have to access the application! Take a stroll over to your call log, highlight a number and open the menu. From here, you can choose to block or lookup the specific call log entry. By looking up and finding out the caller’s name, you can then choose to add the name to your contact list or add them to your blocked list.
When you choose to block, you do have the option to report a complaint; perhaps a telemarketing company who refuses to abide by their Do Not Call list. All complaints are subject to review with PrivacyStar. They need to determine if any laws were violated. If so, they will be contacting the authorities. Now onto the actual application.
The main menu displays all of the actions you wish to take your incoming calls. Near the top, you can see four tabs to choose from:
In this tab you can lookup a number to find the associated name, block a number (adding to My Privacy list), block an exchange, create a complaint or access the settings menu. In the settings menu, you can simplify how PrivacyStar works, by automatically blocking all private numbers and/or unknown numbers. You can also activate a Do Not Disturb feature, sending unblocked calls to voicemail and blocked calls will stay blocked. That way you can get back to more private matters (wink wink). To keep track of how many blocked calls have still tried to call you, the application keeps a running count on the bottom of this screen.
In the activity tab, you can view a list of the numbers you have blocked or looked up and when the last activity happened. You can also see if you have lodged a complaint and the status of the complaint (whether it’s cancelled or not). By clicking on a number, a popup will appear, listing more details about it. You can see the associated name, type of number (wireless, landline), and the time blocked.
This tab houses all of the calls you have blocked on your BlackBerry. You can see the status and the date it was created. Personally, I would have eliminated this tab and stuck with the Activity tab, which house similar information anyway. When creating a complaint, the application generates a complaint form that is partially filled out. You need to add in the reason for the complaint. Choose from reasons that include; Junk Fax, Harassing Caller, Illegal Material, etc. If it’s more of a regulatory issue, you have the option to choose that as well, no matter if it’s due to curfew or if you’re on their Do Not Call List. Complaints can be edited, if any changes need to be made.
My Privacy List
All of the numbers I have blocked can be found here. If you want to change a number from your naughty list to your nice list, you do have the power to unblock it, until they tick you off again. In this tab, you can add or edit the name for each entry.
Despite a slow connection to the PrivacyStar portal, the application does what it promises to do; block unwanted calls. The application offers many options with regards to blocking numbers. Whether it’s blocking a specific number, or blocking area codes and exchanges, your BlackBerry will ring for the numbers you want it to. PrivacyStar is available for a monthly fee of $2.99; there is a free trial period available. While not all will agree with the price, there are some out there that will appreciate the freedom the app offers. You can pick it up from the CrackBerry App Store.