‘Not ethical, but legal’: mobile numbers celebrities on the street

Want to call politician Klaas Dijkhoff or send an app to comedian Guido Weijers? Their 06 numbers can easily be found via the online service Lusha. “I personally do not think this is ethically justified, but it is probably all legal from a legal point of view,” says Bossche IT expert Stan Hegt.

Not only prominent Brabant figures such as Dionne Stax, crime reporter John van den Heuvel or entertainment expert and producer Albert Verlinde are easy to find via Lusha. Other famous Dutch and international big names can also be found via this internet service with their personal details. They all have one agreement, they all stand up LinkedIn.

“Lusha uses the business internetwork LinkedIn. You start on the profile page of the person you are looking for and Lusha then searches for all the information that is known about this person,” Stan explains.

“Lusha connects publicly accessible websites like LinkedIn with commercial sites. How many times have you had to leave your phone number on a site,” Stan asks rhetorically. “Much of that data is resold and is therefore visible to Lusha, among others.”

Omroep Brabant’s radio program WAKKER tried out Lusha early on Monday morning. Many numbers turned out to be correct, but were answered with a voicemail.

The Breda mayor Paul Depla did answer and was immediately awake when he heard that his number can be found by everyone. “I didn’t know I was so easily traceable,” he replied a little sleepily. “I’m definitely going to find out how legal this is all”, it then sounded clearer.

IT connoisseur Stan says this is a gray area. “Via AVG that protects privacy, you have to inform all possible sources that your data may not be made public. That is impossible. Often people do not even know that they can be found via Lusha.”

Not new
This site has been around for a few years now. “Lusha is widely used by marketing agencies and headhunters to get in touch with interesting customers,” explains Stan.

There still exist more sites which makes it quite easy to find people’s personal information.

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