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FaceApp responds to privacy concerns as senator asks FBI, FTC to investigate Russian app

By midian182 · 8 replies
Jul 18, 2019
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  1. Most social media users will have noticed what looks like the cast of Cocoon appearing on their feeds recently, with over 100 million people turning themselves into their parents with FaceApp’s scarily convincing aging filter. This is the second time the app has gone viral after it did the same two years ago, mostly thanks to its gender-swapping feature. Now, its abilities have improved.

    But not everyone sees FaceApp as a bit of fun. Questions have been asked over whether the application, which has its headquarters in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is stating clearly that users’ photos are being uploaded to the cloud for processing, rather than it taking place on the device.

    The privacy worries and Russia link prompted U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to call for the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to open a national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp, reported Reuters.

    "It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of US citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States," he wrote, in a letter to the heads of both organizations.

    Additionally, the Democratic National Committee has urged the party’s 2020 presidential candidates not to use the app, or delete it immediately if they’ve already used it.

    FaceApp claims it only uploads photos selected by the user for editing, not the entire camera roll, and that “most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.” It does add, however, that it “might” store some of these photos for a short time to improve “performance and traffic.”

    It’s also claimed that no user data is transferred to Russia. Founder Yaroslav Goncharov told TechCrunch that it uses AWS and Google Cloud. “We don’t sell or share any user data with any third parties,” it adds. Users can also ask that their data is deleted, though the process is far from simple.

    While it sounds as if nothing nefarious is taking place, there is one section of the app’s terms of service that’s causing concern. It states that by downloading the app, users agree to hand over their likeness, voice, persona, name, and user content for commercial use without any compensation, though this isn't the first mobile app to feature such terms.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 695   +385

    So... it's OK for Facebook to have tons of pictures considered "sensitive information" but not FaceApp because Russians?! Please remind me, why is Microsoft's photoDNA more morally correct than processing just a desired picture, that you could pull from any other social media profile anyway, on a server?
    I just checked my phone after all this hysteria and paranoia: no mobile data consumed by the app in the few days I've had it installed and about 6 MB consumed of WiFi data; which sounds right to me, according to the pictures I processed.
     
  3. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 300   +178

    Install BlueStacks on your PC, Install FaceApp on it and laugh at privacy concerns.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    mosu likes this.
  4. Edito

    Edito TS Addict Posts: 104   +34

    Because Americans can't stand the fact that other countries can eat they pie with our concern and acceptance... Yes we despise facebook and other american tools that tries to sell us the sense of privacy and yes most of us agree to use Russian or Chinese apps... Morality is all about perspective and convenience...
     
  5. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Addict Posts: 245   +113

    So... open market and competition is okay only when US is doing it? When others compete then everything is a concern. Yeah, we've seen this with Toyota and Volkswagen. As soon as their market share has increased they've been sabotaged in media.
     
    ForgottenLegion likes this.
  6. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 420   +422

    The most corrupt nation on earth doing it's usual thing again.
     
  7. David Belkin

    David Belkin TS Enthusiast Posts: 51   +44

    A private company employing a minuscule amount of employees compared to behemoths in the US (Facebook, Google, etc.) doing exactly and even worse what faceapp is accused of, and you're calling 144 million Russian people the most corrupt nation on earth.
     
  8. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 300   +178

    D
    Don't forget the state sponsored drug cheating at the Olympics and other international events. The people of Russia know about this but most of them think it's a conspiracy and Putin is still denying despite the overwhelming evidence.
    In Vancouver 2010 they weren't able to cheat and they finished 11th
     
  9. David Belkin

    David Belkin TS Enthusiast Posts: 51   +44

    https://www.pcmag.com/news/369609/is-faceapp-really-a-privacy-threat
     

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