FaceApp under fire for massive privacy issues

By Shaheryar Ehsan on
July 18, 2019
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FaceApp has seen a huge rise in popularity in the recent few weeks with almost everyone turning their pictures into their older selves. With such popularity comes privacy problems as researchers have found out that FaceApp has been developed by a Russian company and there is no clue as to what happens when your photo goes back to their servers for processing.

The app is 2 years old and it has suddenly come into the limelight which raises a great many questions. Researchers have found out that the app is operating within its limits, that is it is not sweeping up entire photo libraries. However, no one is aware regarding what happens to the photos when they have been sent to the server.

To elaborate how FaceApp works, you select a photo from your device and then the app uploads it to the server. The entire processing uses an Artificial Intelligence software which is deployed at the server and then the edited photo comes back to your device. But what happens to the original photo? Is it deleted or is it being stored? No one knows!

The app’s privacy policy also allows the developers to use your photos in any way they deem fit as can be read below:

You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.

In essence, your photos may seem private now but in the coming future, they may be used in any way and you cannot challenge this in the court of law. Since you have provided your consent by agreeing to the privacy policy with those terms present, you have lost ownership of the photos you have uploaded.

Read More: FaceApp goes viral as it shows what you will look like as you age

FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov responded to the criticism by saying that most photos are removed from the cloud servers within 48 hours of their upload time, however, they might store some for improving performance. Furthermore, almost 99% of users don’t log in to the app, therefore, they don’t have any means of identifying the users. Users can also request removal of data from their servers but their team is currently overwhelmed with requests.

Do you think FaceApp poses a significant privacy risk? Will you be getting your photos removed?

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