Two-year-old FaceApp, developed in Russia by Wireless Lab, is going viral again. Users upload photos of their faces to the app, add beards, glasses, change hair color, and the most popular: age. But privacy concerns are popping up, as are rumors that the app is saving and selling user data.
FaceApp’s AI provides a scarily accurate “peek into the future,” transforming your face in a way that’s reminding users of their own parents or grandparents. Celebrities and the general public alike are posting their “FaceApp Challenge results,” including popular boy band The Jonas Brothers, whose evolution can be seen below.
But a slew of privacy concerns are coming with the app’s resurgence. To upload a single picture of your face, the app requires access to your entire camera roll. Users have been expressing fears on social media that FaceApp could have access to photos with sensitive information, including financial statements, health documents, pictures of kids with their schools and/or homes in the background.
CNN reported the Democratic National Committee sent an alert to all Democratic presidential campaigns, warning that because the app was “developed by Russians,” it could be compromising to the candidates and national security. Security experts aren’t sure yet how
Consumer Reports Privacy D
Brookman isn’t sure what the photos could be used for, but he thinks Russian advertisements or stock photos are a possibility. “Russia has been known to use personal information in the past,” he said, but FaceApp currently denies collecting or selling user information.
FaceApp announced in a recent statement: “Ninety-nine percent of users don’t log in; therefore, we don’t have access to any data that could identify a person… we don’t sell or share any user data with any third parties.” But they also added that “most” photos uploaded to the app are held on “remote servers” for about 48 hours before being deleted.
Though FaceApp maintains they’ll remove all data from their servers at a user’s request, Brookman isn’t reassured. “Their statement raises many questions about their additional
Other researchers, like French security expert Baptiste Robert, have been unable to prove the app is uploading a user’s entire gallery. His analysis of the app’s coding seems to show the only photo sent to a server is the single image users want to edit. Robert cautions people against uploading information, including photos, to an unfamiliar app. Especially if it’s not US-based.
Yes, it’s tempting to see what you’ll look like in 10, 20 even 50 years. But Brookman says that for him, he’d rather wait the decade than sacrifice his privacy. Proceed with caution — “most” photos are deleted, but yours might not be.