If you’re an iPhone user, well there’s a chance (read: app) for you to become completely anonymous. Have a new number for every call you wish to place without the need to instate any new contracts or the need to buy prepaid connections. Burner, a newly released iPhone app lets you create disposable numbers that not only can be used for placing calls, but also for receiving them. The received calls would be placed to your number and/or an anonymous voicemail automatically. The ‘burnable’ number works not only for placing incognito calls, but also for sending incognito text-messages.
Burner provides you with a temporary number, without having the need to provide any personal identification. The number provided can be used for 20 minutes of air-time or sending 60 text messages. The numbers assigned by Burner normally last for a week, after which they are auto-deleted.
Nevertheless, there is an option to ‘burn’ the number even before your validity or talk-time expires. Burning a number erases all the trails that the number was existent. People trying to call the number would be welcomed with the message that the number is now out of service.
Burner however is not a free app. You would have to purchase it from App Store for $2. Burner does provide you one initial alias number which you can use to get started. The app cost excludes the cost of additional alias numbers, which can be bought after buying sufficient credits.
Anonymity is a virtue that is not necessarily constrained to people who wish to engage in illicit activities, but abides also to people who want to conceal their identity for some exemplary causes. While many may cite the provision of hiding their identification as unprincipled, there are some genuine reasons in not believing what seems quite outright.
The developer, Ad Hoc explains that the app is perfect for “dating, job searches, short-term projects, craigslist transactions, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media”, where you do not want to reveal your true phone number to the caller.
Consider the story of 28 year old graduate student and iPhone user, Jake Gillum, who lives in Portland, Oregon for instance. Jake used the anonymity feature provided by the Burner app to create a sting operation, which made him recover his stolen $2500 2009 Fuji Team road bike. The bike had been put on the sale in the Seattle section of the Craighlist and Jake was sassy enough to nab the kleptomaniac down. According to the Digital Trends who reported this story, Jake had earlier planned on purchasing a prepaid handset and registering it with a Seattle zip code. However, he discovered about this iPhone app- Burner through a friend and opted to contact the bicycle thief via a rather convenient option.
Hence, while there are many deleterious ways of using the app, there are some noble, altruistic ways too. Like, Burner is pretty good investment just in case you want to avoid the follow-up calls from that random-chick you met last night or from an insurance agent who you called for just normal inquiries.
Thanks to Burner. You can now incautiously sing “So here’s my number. Call me, maybe.”