Everyone seems to be using the FaceApp, an application that has taken social media by storm. The app is Russia-based, and it’s now raising some serious privacy concerns.
This image-altering application transforms your photos using artificial intelligence to make the person on the pictures look older or younger, or with added facial hair.
The app can also show what you would look like if you switched genders.
Since the release of the app in 2017, many celebrities have hopped to this new trend, posting pictures of their youthful, current, and older selves.
And over a million users have since downloaded the application from Google Play Store.
FaceApp is also the current most popular app in the Apple Store’s “Photo and Video” app section.
The FaceApp terms read:
“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate… distribute, publicly perform, and display your User Content.”
FaceApp’s Privacy Concerns
According to some United States senators, apps such as FaceApp “could pose national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens.”
And the legislators are requesting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into these concerns.
In a letter to the FBI and FTC, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote:
“In particular, FaceApp’s location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of U.S. citizens to third parties, including potentially foreign governments.”
“I ask that the FBI assess whether the personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government or entities with ties to the Russian government.”
A small business lawyer, Elizabeth Potts Weinstein, explained what the app’s “User Content” really means.
“If you use #FaceApp you are giving them a license to use your photos, your name, your username and your likeness for any purpose including commercial purposes (like on a billboard or internet ad).”
FaceApp Developers Denies the Allegations
They could also use your photos in new artificial intelligence testing and training.
In a statement, the app developers denied it sold or shared any data with third parties.
“We don’t have access to any data that could identify a person.”
“We only upload a photo selected any a user for editing. We accept requests from users for removing all their data from our servers.”
Even if you uninstall the app, the developers already have access to your previously uploaded photos. And if your face appears on billboards, you’ll not be compensated or alerted.
Many people are now warning against these apps as users tend to give out lost of their personal information in exchange for these entertainment applications.
Steve Sammartino, a business technology expert, warned:
“Your face is now a form of copyright where you need to be really careful who you give permission to access your biometric data.”
“If you start using that willy nilly, in the future when we’re using our face to access things, like our money and credit cards, then what we’ve done is we’ve handed the keys to others.”