Burner is a new iPhone app that will let you set up temporary phone numbers that could give you the potential to increase your anonymity; ideal for giving to a stranger in various situations including dating, where you could use these numbers to meet up with new people, and carry on using them until you are sure that you want to hand over your actual permanent number.
Other possible applications for the numbers include for classified ads where you are looking to sell something for a few days, for short-term contracts, job searches, and social media or potentially for online marketing and promotional activities where a number is only needed on a short-term basis.
The phone numbers have a limited life and will automatically expire within a week. Alternatively, each number comes with a ‘Burn’ button which means that you can permanently delete them; ideal for situations where you want to prevent someone from calling you anymore. Once the number has been deleted, any callers will receive an out-of-service message.
Although this has lots of positive uses, the app does have the potential to be misused and could be used for criminal purposes. However, the company behind Burner have provided an assurance that anyone using the app for illegal or inappropriate activities can be traced using IP addresses of the users’ mobile devices which should hopefully provide a sufficient enough deterrent.
The app is available to download from the App Store and costs $1.99, around £1.50 which will provide you with sufficient credit to set up one temporary Burner number that will last for a maximum seven days. Unfortunately it’s only been launched in the United States so far, but a UK release is on the cards.The app enables you to create just one or multiple numbers, with each one acting as an individual line in your iPhone which is capable of receiving either voice calls or SMS messages. Any incoming calls will either be directed straight to your voicemail or be redirected to your main mobile number, a preference that can be set in its options. Any outgoing calls will be made through your seected Burner number and that number will be displayed on the receiver’s caller ID.
The name ‘Burner’ is commonly associated with criminals who have a reputation for buying mobile phones which are then dumped and replaced on a weekly basis in order to reduce the traceability of any illegal activities. This negative connotation though does not seem to have deterred the developer, Ad Hoc Labs from using the term to name its latest app.
This app to aide anonymity comes at a time when most of our actions and apps are geo-tagged and Greg Cohn, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ad Hoc Labs, the parent company of Burner has commented:
“People are using their mobile phones all the time, and using SMS more and more for day-to-day tasks. Protecting your privacy is harder than ever.”
Why not take a closer look at this and other apps that are available to download for your iPhone from the App Store or take a look online to see when Apple are looking to launch their latest release, the iPhone 5.