PSA: That face app everyone is using is sending all your photos to a company in Russia
Okay, so you’ve probably seen all the reports about FaceApp and its potential for sketchy privacy issues. The developers have responded to the accusations of images being whisked off to Russia, and a few other potential issues.
While their response appears comprehensive to me, it’s still wise to be wary of any app that doesn’t do on-device processing. With face unlocks being fooled by a drawing (let alone an actual picture), keeping your data in-hand has never been more necessary.
While FaceApp’s company is in Russia, your data goes to AWS or Google Cloud
The app itself has been around for a couple of years now, with a recent resurgent virality from a new feature – being able to digitally age or un-age someone’s face. That then led to the #faceappchallenge trending on social media, challenging people to download the app and post their aged selfies.
The developers responded to TechCrunch about the privacy concerns and here’s what they said:
- Only the photo selected by the user is uploaded, and photo processing is done in the cloud – not sent to Russia
- Uploaded photos might be stored for up to 48 hours to reduce server load if the user does multiple edits
- Requests for data removal can be done through the mobile app Settings > Support > Report a bug with the word Privacy in the subject line
- All features are available without logging in. FaceApp says 99-percent of users don’t log in, so they don’t have access to personally identifiable data
- They don’t sell or share user data with any third parties
This sounds like the procedures for most tech companies, with all the furor firmly centered on the fact the developer is based in Russia. Maybe we can get on with our lives now to see if aging naturally fits with the AI-created images from the app.
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