A PRIVACY APP that will let you avoid people you do not like has been launched, however not without concerns.
In one camp there are the people that like the Cloak app, a piece of software that can mask you from other people that you know for privacy reasons. The flip side of this is that users can mask themselves for other reasons, such as following someone without their knowledge, otherwise known as stalking.
Cloak is designed for the former. It uses social networking information available from Foursquare and Instagram to build up a picture of contacts in an area. If you don't like the people you can avoid the area or effectively block yourself.
Cloak, which is dubbed as an "incognito mode for real life", could be more accurate if it also looked at Facebook, for example, but according to the iTunes store listing, it is pretty good at what it does.
"Cloak scrapes Instagram and Foursquare to let you know where all your friends, 'friends', and nonfriends are at all times so you never have to run into that special someone," it reads. "Think of it as the antisocial network."
A note said that more social networks will be added to the system. No other social networks aside from Twitter were mentioned, and the note said the app wouldn't use it.
William Webb, president-elect at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said that the app might be a sign of the web maturing into an environment where people use less inclusive sharing and retain more control of their online world.
"The new Cloak app, which will send you alerts when certain people are in your vicinity, is the latest in a line of 'private' or 'anti-social media' apps. There seems to be a growing move away from the all-inclusive style of social media championed by Facebook - to one where people can maintain a degree of secrecy and anonymity," he said.
"We could see this as social media 'growing up'. Initially there was a lack of easy ways to connect and interact with friends and colleagues - but now this need has been widely met and we've moved to a situation of, in some cases, having too much connectivity. Innovation and new applications will allow us to become more intelligent and selective as we gradually learn how to use technology to interact better."
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