EveryCall.us Official Blog

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Attorney General Zoeller’s Letter to the FCC

Call Control was mentioned today in AG Zoeller’s letter to the FCC asking the FCC to take action and clarify the legal framework so that major telecommunications have a clear path forward to provide call blocking technologies to consumers.

Our position is and always has been that call blocking at the consumer level is legal because the consumer is making the choice about which calls are allowed and which are blocked.  Most of the major carriers offer some form of manual call blocking currently, and new technologies like Call Control offer the ability for technology to help with the scale of the problem.

The FCC can clear the path forward by providing affirmative guidance about call blocking.

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Call Control BACK on Google Play!

We’re excited to report that Call Control is officially back on Google Play after Google responded to our appeal of the removal.  

Here’s the note we received from Google yesterday afternoon:

Hi,

We appreciate the opportunity to review your app’s removal. Upon further review, we’ve accepted your appeal and have reinstated your app.

You will need to log back into your Google Play Developer Console to re-publish the application so it is available again on Google Play.

For more information on Google Play policies please visit our app policy help guideContent Policy, and Developer Distribution Agreement.


Regards,
The Google Play Team
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Removed from Google Play - Update

We wanted to update you on the status of Call Control on Google Play.

Call Control was removed from Google Play Thursday, September 4th 2014 around 4:00 PM PST for what Google claims was a violation of section 4.3 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA).  

We submitted an appeal request later that evening to Google using their online form, and as of today we’ve heard nothing back from Google.

Here is the case we made to Google in our appeal:

  1. Call Control was removed from Google Play by mistake, we do not access or transmit any contact or personal information.
  2. We specifically state in our terms of use and privacy policy what data we access or is created and what we do with that data.  We feel that Call Control is in compliance with the DDA.
  3. While Google provides zero information about what part of our app is potentially in non-compliance, our best guess is that it has to do with our support request system.  We explained to Google what information we gather and how we provide a preview to each user, in addition to a warning, before the information is sent by the user as an email.  This is done with complete understanding and authorization by each user.

It should be noted that developers are allowed merely 1,000 characters to appeal, which is absurd in our opinion.  1,000 characters to make a case about why an app that millions of people use and trust on a daily basis was suddenly removed without warning.

Because of this limit we decided to submit multiple appeals as we investigated this issue on our own and continued to provide information to Google.

We are holding out hope that Google will thoroughly review our appeal request(s) and will find that we are absolutely in compliance with Google’s Developer Agreement.

As of now user’s who have Call Control on their device continue to be able to use Call Control, however we can’t support or make updates and any in app purchases are non-functional.

If Google is genuinely concerned about user’s privacy and personal information, why are they allowing our app to remain on millions of devices?  Removing Call Control from Google Play does little to sincerely protect users if Google believes Call Control is harmfully accessing and distributing user data.

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Removed from Google Play - Update

We wanted to update you on the status of Call Control on Google Play.

Call Control was removed from Google Play Thursday, September 4th 2014 around 4:00 PM PST for what Google claims was a violation of section 4.3 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA).  

We submitted an appeal request later that evening to Google using their online form, and as of today we’ve heard nothing back from Google.

Here is the case we made to Google in our appeal:

  1. Call Control was removed from Google Play by mistake, we do not access or transmit any contact or personal information.
  2. We specifically state in our terms of use and privacy policy what data we access or is created and what we do with that data.  We feel that Call Control is in compliance with the DDA.
  3. While Google provides zero information about what part of our app is potentially in non-compliance, our best guess is that it has to do with our support request system.  We explained to Google what information we gather and how we provide a preview to each user, in addition to a warning, before the information is sent by the user as an email.  This is done with complete understanding and authorization by each user.

It should be noted that developers are allowed merely 1,000 characters to appeal, which is absurd in our opinion.  1,000 characters to make a case about why an app that millions of people use and trust on a daily basis was suddenly removed without warning.

Because of this limit we decided to submit multiple appeals as we investigated this issue on our own and continued to provide information to Google.

We are holding out hope that Google will thoroughly review our appeal request(s) and will find that we are absolutely in compliance with Google’s Developer Agreement.

As of now user’s who have Call Control on their device continue to be able to use Call Control, however we can’t support or make updates and any in app purchases are non-functional.

If Google is genuinely concerned about user’s privacy and personal information, why are they allowing our app to remain on millions of devices?  Removing Call Control from Google Play does little to sincerely protect users if Google believes Call Control is harmfully accessing and distributing user data.

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Google Removed Call Control

We regret to say that Google has decided to remove Call Control from Google Play, because of a supposed policy violation.  Here is a snippet of the email we received just a couple of hours ago:

"REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of section 4.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement.

Please refer to the policy help article for more information.

We classify a user’s contacts as private and confidential information. Apps which upload a user’s contacts to a service without making this clear to the user and obtaining the user’s explicit consent are regarded as being in violation of section 4.3 of the DDA.”

We do not access or upload contacts or other personal information, ever within Call Control.  We think this is relating to our support request system with our app, where we collect some basic information about recently blocked calls to help troubleshoot problems.  

We realize that there may be contact information, telephone numbers, etc. in this report because they could be in the missed call log - so we display it to each user before we send it and ask that each user review the content prior to sending it to us.  

This way if there is something that a user would like removed, they can delete it and then proceed to send the report - or cancel out and not send anything.

Call Control has been published for over four years with this functionality and it has never been brought to our attention until now that this was a problem.

We absolutely do not access, transmit or send any contacts information or other private information at any time.  

What this means for Call Control users.

Unfortunately Google has removed Call Control from Google Play entirely, which also removes it from your device, meaning you can no longer use Call Control.  We’ve submitted an appeal request to Google asking them to reconsider their action, but it’s unknown at this time if they will reinstate Call Control.

We’ve offered to completely remove any logs generated in the support request to remove any doubt about compliance with Google’s policies.

We regret that this has happened, and are as surprised as you are.  We are literally sick that a product we’ve spent the last five years of our lives working on has been instantly removed with no warning and only limited explanation.  

If you’d like to make an appeal to Google on our behalf, we’d love you too.  Please email googleplay-developer-support@google.com with your comments.

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The next version of Call Control is coming soon!

And we are opening an Early Access Program to let those of you who would like to take a sneak peak at the brand new Call Control!

To get started visit http://earlyaccess.everycall.us/ and provide your name and email address at the bottom of the page.

Here’s some of what’s new in Call Control 4.0:

Completely Redesigned User Interface 

We’ve rebuilt the user interface to make Call Control easier to use and making key features easier to access.  We think you’ll like it!

Dialer

The biggest change to Call Control is that we’ve introduced the Dialer, which is accessed by pressing the middle keypad icon on the bottom menu.

You can use the dialer to perform many essential functions within Call Control like:

1.  Making a phone call.
2.  Searching a phone number and finding out who’s calling you.
3.  Adding a number to your Block List, Allow List or Contacts.
4.  Reporting a spam caller by clicking the Police Hat icon.

To make a call, simply enter the phone number and click the green Call button.

Use the options in the blue tray to access many features within Call Control:

Lookup Button - Lookup a phone number you’ve entered.
Add to Contacts Button - Add a phone number you’ve entered to one of your contacts.
Block Button - Add a phone number you’ve entered to your block list.
Report (Police Hat) Button - Submit a spam report for a phone number you’ve entered.

You can quickly delete a number you’ve entered by pressing and holding the X arrow in the upper right hand corner.

Block and Allow Lists

We’ve changed Blacklist and Whitelist into Block List and Allow List respectively.  We felt this will make it more clear and easier to use.

Block List - Any number added to your Block List will be prevented from calling you, based on your call blocking settings.

Allow List - Any number added to your Allow List will be allowed to call you.  Your contacts are always allowed to call you unless you specify otherwise (by adding them to the Block List or DND mode is enabled for example).

Another use of the Allow List is for allowing callers that might otherwise be blocked by the community.  This is similar to the “Not Spam” feature in your email inbox and allows you to train Call Control to know who is a spam caller and who is not.

Messaging

We’ve integrated text and MMS messaging directly within Call Control so you can have all of your phone and messaging controls directly within one app.

And with Android OS 4.4 KitKat, text message blocking is also supported with Call Control’s innovative built in messaging center.

Streamlined Settings

We’ve moved all of your settings into a convenient side drawer that you can access from ANYWHERE within Call Control!

To access the drawer, swipe from the left edge of your screen towards the center. To make it go away, slide it back from the center to the left.

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Call Control Android Bug

We have seen an uptick of bug reports since the release of the 3.0.16.1, on some devices call blocking works less reliably.  We are working on a fix and will post it immediately after we have it tested and working.

Thank you for your patience!  If you have any issues please contact us at support@everycall.us

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Call Control Home Update

We have been working hard over the past three and a half months on Call Control Home and wanted to update you on our progress. 

We have completed the software engineering phase of the project and have two beta devices in our lab that are up and running, blocking calls as we speak.  All of the features that we’ve promised to bring to Call Control Home have been created, including:

  • Community Call Blocking.
  • Personal block and allow lists.
  • Slick web interface for ease of configuration and setup.
  • Call scheduling / do not disturb mode.

We have also refined the design and have several prototypes that we really like, like this one:

image

Our primary challenge now is to reach our fund raising goal, which we’ve increased to $65,000 so that we can give the green light to manufacture the first run of Call Control Home units.  As of today, we have a commitment of $12,586.  If you want to help - please spread the word to family and friends and ask them to support our project with a pre-order pledge!

We are committed to bringing this great product to market and appreciate your continued support and patience!

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Call Control 2.0 for Android Coming Soon…

We have been hard at work since January on a completely updated version of Call Control for Android.  We’re going to hold off on details for now, but we’re getting very excited to share it with the world!

Stay tuned, we’ll post screenshots and feature announcements as we get closer to launching the new version!

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Block calls from Rachel at Card Services

This guide will show you how to block calls from Rachel at Card Services on your Android or Blackberry phone.

If you’re getting spammed by Rachel at “Card Services” or “Card Holder Services”, you’re not alone, recently the FTC made Rachel Enemy #1.  We have received over 500,000 call reports about Rachel and thousands of new reports each week.

Fortunately you can use Call Control to block calls from Card Services permanently and regain control of your phone.  There are several methods and settings within Call Control to block calls from Card Services, depending on how restrictive you want to make your privacy settings.

Call Control has a Community Blacklist, personal Blacklist, and a privacy mode combined with a whitelist that you can configure to virtually eliminate all of these calls.  The steps below range from the least restrictive to most restrictive / most likely to block all of the Card Services calls.

Step 1 - Download Call Control for your Android or Blackberry smartphone. It’s a free download and if you’re happy, consider supporting us with an upgrade to the PRO version.  It may be the best $7.99 you ever spend.

Step 2 - Enable the Community Blacklist. Card Services calls from thousands of different numbers using spoofing technology - our Community Blacklist tracks these calls and will block many of them automatically for you.  Navigate into the Settings screen within Call Control and make sure the Community Blacklist is enabled.

Step 3 - Report Calls and Add to your Blacklist. If calls from Card Services sneak through and aren’t blocked, be sure to REPORT them to the Community Blacklist by clicking the “Report” icon on the home screen of Call Control.  After you file a report, you’ll be prompted to add the caller to the blacklist, which will ensure calls from that number never bother you again.

Step 4 - Privacy Mode - Contacts / Whitelist Only. This feature is the most restrictive but will virtually guarantee all of the Card Services calls are blocked.  Navigate into either the Schedule or Settings screen and set “Privacy Mode” to “Allow Contacts and Whitelist Only”.  This will allow only callers who are in your address book or on your whitelist to ring through to your phone.

  • We suggest that you configure the blocking mode to “Send Calls to Voicemail”, it’s unlikely that Card Services will leave a voicemail and this way important callers call leave a voicemail and you won’t miss their calls entirely.
  • We suggest that you add your local area codes to your whitelist so local calls still ring through.  Generally card services calls from non-local area codes.
That’s it!  Following these four steps, you can join millions of Call Control customers who enjoy peace and quiet and who have taken back control of their phones by blocking calls from Card Services!