A bit of a worry!

22 05 2006

Some years back an Australian telephone database on CD had ‘reverse entry’ lookup for phone numbers, but it was pulled by the powers that be and that was the end of reverse lookups (i.e. enter a phone number and find the name and address it belongs to). Privacy issues were cited as the reason. I was always a bit of a fence-sitter on this one – yes, I can understand the privacy concerns, but equally, I can understand why you might have a number without a name and want to find out who it belongs to (thinking back to the days of beer coasters in bars…).

Well today I was sent a link to a website that threw all that out the window. The site is the unfortunately-named http://www.boonghunter.com http://www.indigenoushunter.com/. You can enter details into one or more fields and get listings of matches. It’s very fast – and quite scary!

I tested it with my street and suburb, and it listed everyone in the street, with their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Then I searched on my surname without entering anything else and got all Australians listed who have that surname. I did a reverse lookup on my dentist’s phone number (as I had just called it) and got her details. Fortunately it doesn’t appear to list silent/unlisted numbers – I tried a couple of those too and got no results.

I guess what makes it both brilliant and scary is that it is SO quick and you don’t have to jump through all the search criteria that searching the White Pages puts in the way. Nearly all the searches I did you cannot do – or cannot do easily – using the standard White Pages.

I wonder how long before it is shut down…

(And yes, I know that the US has had reverse number lookup for some time – but we haven’t.)

Update: 24 May 2006: On the TV news last night this site was mentioned and the authorities were trying to find the owner/host to shut it down. I went in again today and the site has changed name, but it’s still there…

Update: 26 May 2006: Well, both sites are down now. The first one is now a parked domain name available for purchase from GoDaddy, and the second brings up a “Server not found” error in Firefox. It didn’t take long.

Update: 11 July 2014: Discovered another one today while looking for something else, and this one is reasonably accurate too: http://www.reverseaustralia.com/. Wonder how long it will last…


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