Celebrities and ordinary people alike have once again gone gaga over FaceApp. The face altering app has actually been around since 2017 but has become popular once again as people started posting about what they would look like when they got older. But just like before when it gained “notoriety”, there are major security and privacy concerns, especially now that people realized that the app was developed by a Russian company called Wireless Lab. So is the app something we should really be worried about? The short answer is yes but there are also some concerns that may be just bordering on paranoia.
If you’re unaware, this is what you’re giving up when you use the app and post its results on your social media. The photo processing is done not on your device but on their own servers. This makes sense as it would be harder for people to copy their process but it also means your photos are stored on their servers which is already scary in itself but also means it’s vulnerable to being hacked. Its lengthy T&C (terms and conditions) also states that they can do whatever they want with your photo like use it for advertising and you won’t get paid a cent or you won’t even be informed.
It’s highly unlikely that the Russian government or any other government is in cahoots with FaceApp and that they’ll use your face and your data for some nefarious purpose. The developers also claim that “most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date”. They also assured users that they will not be sharing your data with any third party. This should put our minds at ease right? However, the way their T&C is worded means that nothing can stop them if they want to do so.
Now what are they probably doing or going to do with the more than 150 million downloads of their app and probably as many (or more than) photos uploaded on their servers? It will probably go into research on facial recognition, which they actually state in their “how we use your information” section. This should help businesses improve their algorithms. Another thing they can use it is for targeted advertising for cosmetics and beauty brands. Expect to see more ads like this if you used FaceApp.
Some have pointed out that a lot of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have the same T&Cs where we turn over our rights to the content we upload to them. Maybe we should start questioning and analysing once again if it’s worth it giving up those “rights” for the sake of using their platforms for free. So should you still use the FaceApp? We recommend you don’t especially if you’re concerned with privacy but at the end of the day, it’s still up to you whether you think people are just scaremongering or there’s a legitimate concern with this particular app.
July 21, 2019 at 07:40PM