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Secret app will keep your name secret now (but is it really secret?)

24 August 2014, 8:37 am EDT By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
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Secret will be receiving several updates, one of which will prevent posts mentioning real names. However, reports show that the anonymity that the app promises is not fully guaranteed.  ( Secret on iTunes )

Secret, an anonymous sharing app that allows users to post their confessions without fear of anybody finding out who they really are, will be receiving several updates.

The updates will be released just as reports reveal that the anonymity that the app promises is not fully guaranteed.

Secret discussed the upcoming updates in a post at Medium, starting off by saying that the focus of the updates is on one of the app's key principles, specifically "Words are the centerpiece."

The first update allows users to grab images from Flickr to be used as a backdrop for their Secret posts. Since the images are capable of setting the mood for the posts of users, allowing access to billions of images through Flickr will give users that many more options to choose from.

However, in exchange for this access to Flickr, Secret will no longer allow users to use images from their device's image library. Users will still be able to take pictures in real-time with the app though, to be used as the backdrop for their posts.

The second update gives users the option to conduct simple Yes-No polls that friends and the rest of the Secret community can answer through a simple swipe and tap on the screen.

Lastly, the update also adds more protection for Secret users, adding two crucial safety features.

The first feature upgrades post analysis to not only detect names, but also to detect sentiments, keywords and pictures of people. A detection of a possible violation of the app's guidelines will ask the user to "re-think" the post. If the user proceeds, then the post will be further reviewed.

The second feature touches on the issue of using real names on Secret posts. Secret now discourages the use of real names to avoid harmful situations, and will actively block post that contain real names of people.

However, in an interview with Wired, Secret CEO Byttow reveals that posts on Secret are not guaranteed to remain anonymous.

"The thing we try to help people acknowledge is that anonymous doesn't mean untraceable," said Byttow. "Secret is not a place for unlawful activity, or to make bomb threats or share explicit imagery. ... We do not say that you will be completely safe at all times and be completely anonymous." 

Byttow's statements come after white hat hacker and Rhino Security Labs co-founder Ben Caudill was able to devise a system to unlock the posts made in Secret by any user.

Since Secret began giving out a bug bounty back in February, 38 white hat hackers have identified 42 security problems that were subsequently fixed by the company.

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