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FaceApp – The Privacy Concerns Behind It

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FaceApp is the smartphone photo editing app based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) trending in iOS and Android users worldwide. In the last few days, you can see there is a flood of #OldAgeChallenge post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If you or your loved ones also using FaceApp then you need to know privacy concerns behind It.

Yes, you heard it right, in this article we are going to talk about privacy concerns raised around it.

What Is FaceApp?

FaceApp is working on the AI (Artificial Intelligence) based algorithm to predict how you are going to look when you get old or younger. This app also has some more interesting features like, you can add a beard, mustache, you can change your gender as well. Isn’t it cool?

FaceApp have very strong AI algorithm because of this it gives a more realistic result to the user than the other competitor applications present in the market.

About The Company

FaceApp is developed by Russian company Wireless Lab founded by Yaroslav Goncharov. They are suing Neural Network Technology to automatically generate highly realistic transformations of faces in photographs. FaceApp initially launched in 2017.

In 2017 FaceApp was in racist controversy due one of its filters named as “hotness”, in this filter they beautified image by making the skin tone lighter.

What Permission Does FaceApp Require?

This is the most important question for anybody’s privacy. As FaceApp has gone viral in a very short time and due to this it attracts so many privacy worries. That’s why US Senator Chuck Schumer called the FBI to investigate the FaceApp.

Let’s first talk about what type of permission FaceApp ask when installing to user’s mobile

  1. Camera – to take pictures and video
  2. Photos / Media / Files
    • read the contents of your USB storage
    • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  3. Storage
    • read the contents of your USB storage
    • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  4. Other
    • receive data from Internet
    • view network connections
    • full network access
    • prevent device from sleeping
    • read Google service configuration

If you compare FaceApp with Instagram app permission then you will notice that

FaceApp asking for very less permission than the Instagram app.

What Data Does FaceApp Collects?

Same as any other photo editing app, FaceApp upload file on its server and then process the file and return the updated file to the user. According to the company, they are using AWS and Google cloud services to store data.

Many developers analyzed different app like Facebook, Instagram and conclude that they upload files on the cloud for processing, as to process on the user side it requires more computing power.

So now the main question is that, are they have access to all the photos on your mobile phone?

What Are The Privacy Concerns Around FaceApp?

The major security concern is that FaceApp could use your data such as images uploaded by you for “commercial purposes”.
privacy

As per FaceApp privacy policy, they have permission from the user for ‘perpetual’ ‘irrevocable’ royalty-free and worldwide license to use the content. In a simple word, they could use your uploaded images for promotional activity anywhere in the world without informing you.

In the recent statement, FaceApp stated that “most” images are deleted from server within 48 hours after uploading.

Again the new question arises, what information (data) they can share with any third party?

According to FaceApp’s privacy policy, “We will not rent or sell your information to third parties outside FaceApp”.

Following are the list of points which explain how FaceApp share your data:

  1. They can share your data with the same group of companies.
  2. Can share cookie data with third-party advertising partners.
  3. If FaceApp compnay get merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, dissolution, liquidation at this time your data will be transfer to another compnay.
  4. Can share your information in response to a legal request like a search warrant, court order etc.

How To Delete Your Data From FaceApp Server?

FaceApp confirmed that user can request to delete their data from the server by sending deletion request via “Report a bug” feature in the setting.

Conclusion

So what do you think? Is FaceApp safe? It all depends on the Privacy Policy of any app and the risk you want to take. FaceApp is an eyeopener for all the users who install apps without reading the policy of it.

So I just want to say that, read terms and condition before installing any app.

Let me know your view on this topic in the comments section below. Thank you!

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