Security Experts Issue Privacy Warning Over FaceApp

A woman playing mobile phone in outdoor restaurants,Focus on face.

The #FaceAppChallenge has been trending on social media as users share photos that show how they might look in ten, fifteen, or twenty years. The trend started when FaceApp released a filter that uses artificial intelligence to alter your photos by making you look younger or older.

FaceApp was created by developers at Wireless Lab based in St. Petersburg, Russia and is one of the most downloaded apps in the world. Despite its immense popularity, security experts are warning that people using the app are giving the company that created it unlimited access to their camera rolls.

The terms and conditions that users must agree to in order to use the app give the company the right to modify, reproduce, and publish any of the images you manipulate using their software.

"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," the terms state.

Even if you uninstall the app, the company can still use your photos. What makes FaceApp different from other photo editors is that it uploads your photo to the cloud, where it is edited before being downloaded back to your phone.

Ariel Hochstadt, a Security Expert from the vpnMentor blog, told the Daily Mail that the company could easily identify you, and connect your photo with other information they may have about you.

"They also know who this image is, with the huge DB they created of FB accounts and faces, and the data they have on that person is both private and accurate to the name, city and other details found on FB," he said.

Business Technology expert Steve Sammartino is worried that giving companies access to your photos is a risk because facial recognition technology is being used to identify people when they open their phones and could be used to gain access to banking websites or to use your credit cards in the future.

"If you start using that willy nilly, in the future when we're using our face to access things, like our money and credit cards, then what we've done is we've handed the keys to others."

Photo: Getty Images

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