FaceApp’s Russian link raises alarm and poses serious privacy concerns

Face app

AI-driven photo editing app, FaceApp, has been in the gist of things in the recent past for all the wrong reasons. The app has been at the center of allegations related to its terms of use. The security observers pointed out that the app’s privacy policy grants its parent company, Wireless lab, a life long license to use the uploaded images. Recently, FaceApp has made its way to the Democratic National committee’s “Do not use” list. It is not the first time that a Russian tech-based app has to face backlash from the users. Even earlier, some of the apps developed by Russians were removed from Google Play not that they are Russian, but they pose serious privacy concerns.

The rapid rise of FaceApp

The photo-editing app has been hugely popular among the masses, due to its ability to change people’s faces using various filters. The user needs to upload their photo, and the algorithm does the rest. You can swap your gender, make yourself look older, and can even change your expression. Due to its plethora of available options, FaceApp has succeeded to catch the attention of many celebrities. Some of them include Drake, Lebron James, and Gordon Ramsay. They did share their future looking faces on FaceApp with their fans on social media platforms. 

Russia has been the main culprit behind many of the technology scares that we witnessed in the recent past. Also, the political climate between Russia and the US stays fragile. Many believe that there is every possibility that the user’s data might end up with the Russian military. Even in the past, the Russian developed programs gave the users exclusive rights to get their target users test message history, call logs, and so on. Some of the popular dignitaries like Bob Lord, the chief security officer of DNC and Unites states Senator Chuck Schumer expressed grave concerns over the privacy policy of FaceApp. In fact, Chuck Schumer posted a video on Social media appealing all the Americans to delete FaceApp from their phones and stop using it.

FaceApp Creator Offers clarification on the issue

Yaroslav Goncharov, the FaceApp creator, did clarify some of the privacy concerns surrounding the app. According to him, none of the data uploaded by the users would be transferred to any country. Most of the photos get automatically deleted within 48 hours. Besides, the privacy-conscious users can also place a request for the same by navigating to settings and choosing “Report a bug.” The user needs to type in “Privacy” in the subject line to send their request. The app does not process the images by itself, rather uploads the images in AWS cloud or Google cloud.