HALOS: The Phone App That Let’s You See Other People Carrying Around You
In a world of everything on-demand and smartphones galore, it’s no surprise that I’m showing you the following app that’s just been launched in the concealed carry world. Before you pass any judgement, let’s really dig into what we have here…
HALOS is an app that allows you to show your general location to other users of the app, and the point is to see others near you who are carrying a firearm. Sound creepy and unnecessary? That’s what I thought at first.
Then, I interviewed the creator, and got his side of the story. At face value, many people could be turned off to the idea of broadcasting their location while carrying, but it’s not really the case.
Let’s take a look.
First and foremost, only folks with valid concealed carry permits, or that live in a state with Constitutional Carry, are able to register. The permit information asked for during registration and according to the developer, is removed from their servers shortly after. It’s the only way they can verify that a user is actually a permit holder, so that the app isn’t abused by anyone looking to abuse it. Additionally, no email address or phone number is requested, so no need to opt out of text or email messages.
There it is, top left. I’m an early adopter and my username is NY-1. That means I’m the first one in NY to register in the app. I wonder if I win any prize…
Each user is known by this username, and no other users can see any sort of identifying information of other members. They can’t even communicate. All they can see is a colored circle, and they know that there is a fellow carrier of firearms close by.
In the screenshot at the top right, you can see my example when I was testing out the app. That small blue dot inside of a larger blue circle is just for me, and shows me my location on Google maps. If another user were seeing this, I would be represented as a red circle with no precise location. This leads us to the first big question: Exactly how precise is the location reporting?
That’s up to you. Take a look at the screenshot at the top left, and you’ll see a toggle for ‘BUFFER ZONE’. Currently, two options are given, although I’d like to see a third… say, 100 yards. My reasoning is simple: if I happen to be walking down a road (for whatever reason) and am the only one in sight, it’d be relatively easy to say “Yup, that’s the person I see in my app”. In it’s early stages, I imagine other users will request a similar option, just to allow for a little more privacy if needed.
But what if you want to outright hide your location? No problem, just toggle, “not carrying”. Additionally, if you look at the screenshot below and to the right, this is where the Dark Zone feature comes into play. When at that particular location (home, office, other), you simply press the Dark Zone button and every time you enter that location, you will no longer broadcast your presence, conversely, when you exit that location, your presence will be activated again. Your blue circle will turn gray for you, and you will no longer show up for other users in the area. It’s pretty simple.
It’s a nice feature that you can quickly toggle on and off, just like the others.
Currently available in the iTunes store for free, it will make it’s debut on Android shortly. It was a personal bummer for me, because I don’t have an iPhone. I had to use my friend’s phone to register and check it out (thanks, Melissa!). Still, it was extremely easy to navigate and figure out, and I see use for this… for anyone who isn’t afraid to give others a general idea of where they are.
The concept itself will likely take some time for people to warm up to, but it’s still pretty interesting nonetheless. What do we do with friends who don’t carry? We sometimes talk with them about it in hopes that they may, one day, decide to do as we do. It’s a pretty neat idea to be grocery shopping, or at the movies, and see a few blue dots around your area. You’re in good company, and now you know it.
Sure, concealed means concealed, and I wouldn’t use this app if it pinpointed my exact location down to a few feet. But the idea was intriguing enough to me to speak with the creators, and get a better idea of what they are going for with this app. Let’s let them talk for a moment.
From the creators:
The oft repeated concealed carry permit storyline centers on the skyrocketing growth of permits issued in the U.S. over the past decade (4.6 million issued by 2007 to an estimated 15 million today with 9 states requiring no permit for residents to carry in-state, which adds considerably to this number) and what to make of this phenomenon. While this is noteworthy, the next phase of the story is just emerging and is potentially much more interesting. This is where Halos is focused.
Enter Halos Concealed carry permit holders now largely carry – as the name indicates – privately. Halos provides a platform which maps its members location on their mobile device, while retaining their concealed status. Members may transmit their proximate location so other members have a general idea of where other gun carrying permit holders are. Loosely networking this burgeoning concealed carry population leverages the effectiveness of every carry permit holder.
By aggregating the locations of what the concealed carry community knows to be the good guys, Halos seeks to make our communities safer. Members can plan their movements based upon the relative level of safety of an area as represented by the concentration of gun carrying permit holders on the Halos map. We believe that revealing the proximate location of carry holders, who before were completely hidden, will have a deterrent effect on criminals as well.
Halos is not a social platform for carry permit holders given that most prefer to preserve their anonymity and the critical element of surprise. Halos provides several tools that allow members to manipulate their presence on the Halos map, including what we refer to as Dark Zones that deactivate the transmission of your location in a defined area (for instance your home or workplace). Members may also adjust how much they skew their actual location (25 or 50 yards), further obfuscating their exact location to others. Of course they may deactivate Halos at any time and elect not to appear on the map.
Halos believes in safety in armed numbers, the power of deterrence is amplified when law-abiding concealed carry permit holders become a networked group. As the size of the Halos community grows, the halo effect of safety and deterrence grows exponentially.
For more information Contact: Dan Cook
Well, there you have it. It’s time for you to chime in with your thoughts on this app. It’s sure to be one that has arguments for both sides, but it was just a matter of time before it made its way into our world. Would you use this app? Or would you steer clear? Chime in below.
Have any comments for the creators? Let them know in the comments below, as well.
Click the link below to download the app from the iTunes App Store. Google Play coming soon.