It's an iPhone, iPod, iPad application that costs 6.99 USD, is listed in the official Apple marketplace, sanctioned and verified by Apple.
It's an iPhone, iPod, iPad application by Double U SAL [aka DoubleU S.A.L] (a company operating in Lebanon) using a confidential / 'secure' / private government (Lebanon) database.
It's an iPhone, iPod, iPad application that gives the user access to all the personal / private information of any mobile number owner or registered vehicle owner in Lebanon, including:
Full Home Address
Financial Debt Status
Fixed Landine Numbers
and lot's more
According to Dr. Toni Issa, Lawyer and President of the IT Committee for the Beirut Bar Association, the release of these databases to a third party (by the Interior Ministry) is against the law. Furthermore, copying or stealing databases is a direct violation of the Lebanese Penal Code. The only people who can legally solicit this information are the police or judicial authorities. Any kind of usage of this information is strictly illegal. Moreover, the use of the information violates intellectual property and consumer protection laws.
Apple is reaping quite a profit from this application, at 30% margin, they don't seem to mind that this application breaks so many local and international laws. It's easy to turn a blind eye to rape when you're being paid off handsomely.
As for Double U SAL, these applications are based off of illegally acquired government (Interior Ministry) databases. The fact that a company, registered in Lebanon, can publish an application in the open (public Apple iTunes App Store), make a handsome profit off of it, get mentioned in local newspapers, and still be operating freely, goes to show you the absurd level of corruption in the government of Lebanon.
This blog post is a call out to all privacy advocates in Lebanon and around the world.
Please repost this message on all your blogs, your newspapers, your magazines, your forums, tell your mothers, your grandmothers, your brothers, your fathers, let your politicians, your mayors, your lawyers know.
We cannot sit idly by while our private information is sold on the open market, with the approval of Apple and the indifference of the Lebanese Government.
More information about the company, Double U SAL:
81St. George Bld. - Maarad Str.
Nejmeh Square ,
Beirut, Downtown, Beirut 00961
Domain Name: UUAPPS.COM
Created on: 04-Mar-10
Double U SAL is also known as DoubleU S.A.L
To all iPhone, iPad, iPod users, please report these applications to Apple, using the following process:
1. Load the App Store
2. Search for "Lebanon Directory"
3. Select any of the following apps:
> Lebanon Directory
> Lebanon Cars Directory
4. Click on the "Report a Problem" link in the top right corner
5. Select either:
> This application is offensive
> My concern is not listed here
6. Enter your Comments, something along the lines of "This application uses a stolen database of confidential personal records from the Interior Ministry of Lebanon. The use of the database outside of the Ministry is illegal. The possession of this data by a non-government agency is illegal."
7. Click the blue Report button in the top right corner
A tip came in about the source of the data on these apps. It seems all the data resides on this website:
The website appears to be "unused" / "offline"
However, if you use this query:
you can see the results for any phone number in Lebanon.
This query can be executed by anyone, at no cost, and without any authentication!
The database of all of Lebanon's phone and car records, including all of your personal information is available unsecured for the whole web to harvest!
The owner of Mulhak.com is:
81St. George Bld. - Maarad Str. Nejmeh Square
Beirut, Downtown 961
Created on..............: 2009-05-04
Seems the guys at Mulhak have noticed the buzz around their illegal activities, and have proceeded to shut down their service.
Just received a tip-off on a Facebook App that makes use of the same illegal phone number database [stolen from the Interior Ministry of Lebanon]. The name of the app is LebTell, and can be found at this link:
1. Please click on the above link, scroll to the bottom and click on the lower left hand corner link that says "Report/Contact this Application"
2. If you are not logged in you will be asked to log into Facebook
3. Click on "Report Lebtel if you believe it has violated the Facebook Terms", and then click Continue
4. Select "Data / Privacy Violation" in the Violation box
5. In the Summary: Write something along the lines of "this application uses illegally data"
6. In the "Description & Steps to Reproduce", write something like: this application makes use of the confidential / private database of the Interior Ministry of Lebanon of the people of Lebanon. This database is not for public use, and is an internal database compiled by the Government of Lebanon. The database consists of all phone number owners in Lebanon, mobile and fixed lines, and includes full home addresses and details about the owners that are confidential. This application is in clear violation of Lebanese and International IP and Privacy laws.
7. in the "Violation URL" enter "http://apps.facebook.com/lebtell/"
8. Click on "I understand and agree that the information I am submitting may be used by Facebook to investigate or otherwise act upon a potential violation of policy, including but not limited to passing this information and any uploaded files to the developer of the reported application. I also affirm that I have verified this information to the best of my knowledge and am not intentionally submitting false information."
DO NOT CLICK ON THE "I would like a copy of this report to be sent to the developer of the application."
9. Click on "Report Application"
Another iTunes App Store app tip came in:
"Lebanon Directory+" from MT2 / Libancall, it's worse than DoubleU
It allows people to do the same as DoubleU + allows you even to type a name and get the phone number.
Yet another to report to Apple.
The creater of LebTel (the aforementioned Facebook App) has apologized, and assured us that the LebTel is no longer functional (not returning results).
The spotlight is back on Apple. Just got a tip that this is the second e-mail person X received from Apple, but no action is taken - just empty words. Is Apple turning a blind eye to illegal iTunes App Store apps to avoid losing its 30% margin? Is Apple complicit in the invasion of privacy of every person in The Republic of Lebanon? After all the 'raison d'etre' of corporations is to increase profits...
My name is Jim from iTunes and I will be glad to assist you.
I understand that you want us to remove some applications from the iTunes Store as the are violating people's privacy.
I'm currently waiting to hear back from the department that is taking a look at this issue, so the second I have more information about this I'll contact you immediately.
Thank you so much for all of your continued patience!
iTunes Store Senior Advisor
LebTel (the aforementioned Facebook App) is back online and up to no good - what's up Rony Fadel, why the backtracking on your apology and promise? @ronyfadel
Things are not well at 1 Infinite Loop [Apple HQ]. I've just received the follow-up to our reader's correspondence with Apple on the illegal iPhone app report. Apple has now officially crossed the line as they can no longer play the "we did not know" wildcard with this response. What surprises me most is the statement "None of the Apps violate any of Apple's policies.", which begs the question, if a confidential database, stolen from the Government of Lebanon, being peddled on the Apple iTunes App Store for profit is not a violation of any of Apple's policies, what kind of immoral and evil corporation is Apple?
From: iTunes Store
Date: Monday, November 8, 2010
Subject: Re: App Store and iBooks; Follow-up:
None of the Apps violate any of Apple's policies. You can contact the
developer(s) of those Applications as Apple is the third party in this
If you find that there is an application on the App Store that is
infringing your rights, or violating people's privacy, please contact
our legal team at to work with them on
Please send them a link (or links) to the content as it appears in the
App Store. You can send links by control-clicking (right-click on a
PC) on the App Title in the iTunes Store and choosing, "Copy Link"
from the pop-up menu. You can then paste the URL link to the disputed
app directly into the body of the email. In addition to the links,
please provide the following items:
- A representation, under penalty of perjury, that you are or that you
represent the authorized rights holder of the rights infringed by the
- A description of the rights infringed, and by which aspect of the app
- Your contact information
Your concerns will be forwarded to the developer so that they may
iTunes Store Senior Advisor
From what I've seen around the web, this is not an apple problem. People have somehow (probably illegally) acquired the database from the ministry. It is available if you know where to find it. I actually know of a facebook app that does the same thing for free.
While the amount of information present is more than should be available to anyone, this type of reverse lookup is widely available here in the US and people don't complain. If you care about your privacy, you unlist your number. I'm not sure how it works in Lebanon, but I'm sure you can somehow get your name off the list.
I did say that the amount of information available here is more than should be available to anyone who wants it, but free services Spokeo and others like it will return the name of the person and their full home address and some other private things like income and how much your home costs. For a little bit more money you can run a full background check on people.
I'm not saying this is a good thing, I'm just saying that it's available. If it is regulated by the government in Lebanon (minus all the corruption), this thing doesn't have to be such a bad thing.
Again, this is an opinion and I'm sure people might not like it.
But this is not the US, this is Lebanon and the information that is being spread is in violation of Lebanese law. As far as Apple is concerned it should remove the application because it is accessing information that was illegally gathered and disseminated.
As a foreigner who lives in Lebanon I don't want my information passed around randomly like this. Sure, I have an online presence but I share only what I want to share, not that which was stolen and posted illegally.
"I am a Lebanese and I my right of freedom to do what I want"......sounds familiar eh? ;P
This should be a process for the Government to do..... we are all just small voices
How do you expect for the law to be enforced if the supposed law "enforcers" don't even follow the law themselves?
The DBs were leaked since they were sooooo easy to acquire... no password, no encryption, no private computer, not even as a hidden folder.. my friend told told me that they are available at any computer in Ogero's offices on the Desktop!!! Copy-paste... like snap finger that and all you need is just to know someone who works there(Janitor if you want!)
Are we to blame the ones who leak the info, or the weak/no-security that allows anyone to just barge it, take what "you" want, and go out.
Yes, privacy is an issue, but the bigger issue is the ones who protects it
In most of the world, Governments take this EXTREMELY seriously and take Long and Heavy action to make sure everyone's private information is safe(unless Corruption runs high in the country, ex: Lebanon)
For this reason I am not with, nor am I against anyone publishing this DBs online. We must send a clear message to the Government that Privacy is our right and they should enforce it. now if you know my number, you can know who I am, where I live, Do I care? Yes, but what Can I do? nothing. Until the system gets fixed here. I simply don't care If someone published something about me or I publish something against someone.
Hey guys, and especially bloggingBeirut
Lebtel started off as a weekend project because i wanted to build a cool webapp with rails, and see how the Lebanese public reacted to a webapp like that.
It wasn't my intention to breach anybody's privacy, and no harm was intended.
I want to clarify the fact that i do not own a copy of/did not and will not host the database, I simply queried a public directory and it is therefore their inherent legal responsibility.
Lebtel currently returns no queries at all and returns an error,