Privacy and using FaceApp
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all envisioned what we might look like in 40 years’ time, so when influential celebrities such as Drake, Sam Smith and Gordon Ramsay shared a wrinkled glance into their future online, few would have foreseen the digital cybersecurity scare that followed.
The app, originally created in 2017, lapped up the eruption in popularity as thousands shared their humorously weathered selves, with ageing factors including grey hair, deepened dark circles and of course those frightening excavated wrinkles. Twitter soon became awash with “age challenge” imagery, with dozens of celebrities and individuals jumping on the viral trend train.
In order to depict your future, after downloading the app, the user must grant access to all photo albums before uploading their chosen selfie, ready for editing.
However, after uncovering the information that a Russian company was behind the fad triggered the cybersecurity scare as the creators of the app, speaking with TechCrunch stated that it “might” store users’ photos in its cloud servers and is done so for “performance and traffic”. They stated, “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation.”
“Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”
Nevertheless, it’s since been expressed by users that they’re concerned their entire photo catalogue will be stored as opposed to just one singular uploaded image, therefore violating the privacy of the consumer. Many believe the ulterior motive has been to collect as much data on individuals worldwide as possible, in hopes to be discreet and stay at the forefront of the data game and utilise for advertisement purposes.
Privacy Matters posted on Twitter: “The app is free – your data is the price. It’s true that if you’re not paying for the service then you are the product.
“None of the embedded hidden app tracking is explained anywhere and users are not given choices.”
What was FaceApp’s response to the claims?
FaceApp have responded to the widespread concerns, stating, “We accept requests from users for removing all their data from our servers. Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority.
“For the fastest processing, we recommend sending the requests from the FaceApp mobile app using ‘Settings->Support->Report a bug’ with the word ‘privacy’ in the subject line. We are working on the better UI for that.”
“We don’t sell or share any user data with any third parties. Even though the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia.”
Is FaceApp really a cybersecurity concern? Decide for yourself.
In the meantime, we tried it for ourselves…
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