How much can you trust FaceApp with your face?

FaceApp that now has access to millions of people's faces and names, raises data privacy and security concerns

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Jul 18, 2019 1:48 PM Updated: Jul 18, 2019 1:48 PM
faceapp

The viral FaceApp Challenge has taken social media by storm. According to app analytics and market data platform App Annie, over 100,000 million people have downloaded the FaceApp app from Google Play and it is now the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries. But popularity has also given way to caution, with concerns being raised about users' data security and privacy .

Faceapp uses AI to alter a person's face with a variety of filters. Photos added to FaceApp are uploaded to a server for processing before being sent back to the user, this has raised eyebrows since the app has content at its disposal to use for any purpose it wishes for, and for as long as it desires.

Although, FaceApp's terms of service state that people still own their user content,  the app owns a never-ending and irrevocable royalty-free license to do anything it wants with it.

The  terms state, ‘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. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.’

Privacy breach warnings started doing the rounds only after an app developer, Joshua Nozzi tweeted (the tweet has been removed since) that FaceApp was uploading photos from people's smartphones without asking for permission, however, he later admitted he was wrong.  FaceApp also reportedly refuted this claim saying that only the user-submitted photo was uploaded.

As seen in the past, most often the data collected by viral apps is not always used for the purposes that we might assume, Cambridge Analytica data scandal being a case in point. It is also not always stored securely, safely or privately.  So there is reason enough to be wary when any app wants access to a person's digital content or identity.

 

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