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Face App has caused a huge security controversy

Face App has caused a huge security controversy

Author: Max Stanson

Hardly anyone remembered the Russian-born app that was able to modify a selfie to swap your gender and make you look younger or older. However, thanks to a viral challenge, that same app has made a majestic comeback. Face App has seen in the last weeks how celebrities and normal people have uploaded thousands of pictures per second to its platform. And best of all, there's no cost to using it. But like everything else in the world of digital security and privacy, the question is, "What's the catch?"
Face Recognition, Face ID and FaceApp: A Dangerous Combination

The application uses a new and improved facial recognition algorithm that allows its users to add a couple of decades of age to their faces. Thanks to Face ID, Apple's biometric authentication technology, the results are quite amazing. But what is there to be afraid of? The biggest risk indicator is that Face App is a Russian application. This makes the questions and concerns regarding its privacy policy considerable.

A developer named Joshua Nozzi posted a couple of tweets saying that the application steals and uploads all the photos from the users' gallery once the users have given it access to the multimedia content on the phone - according to information from VeePN. After the story was picked up by the mainstream media, all hell broke loose. Since then, Joshua withdrew his accusation and apologized saying that there was no evidence of this behavior. Still, this kind of "event" puts us on alert and indicates that it is very important to pay attention to the application's privacy policy.
A Selfie as a way of assaulting your private information

It is very interesting to see which Face App hides a lot of information in its policies and contracts. When reviewing their privacy policy, it's pretty clear that the app developers are looking to get their users' data, as much data as possible, without exception.

The application's term of service states: "You grant Face App a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid, transferable and sublicensable 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 image provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you". Sounds bad, doesn't it?

Not only that, the Privacy Policy states that they will also examine your browser's history "to help measure traffic and usage trends," albeit anonymously.

Face App's response to the controversy

The spokesperson for the face sharing application said that "most of the photo processing is done in the cloud, but by no means does the application load all the photos from its users' gallery at once. Not only that, the images are deleted within 48 hours to save space (and a ton of money) on the application's servers. In addition, the application works even if you don't log in, and according to company data, 99% of users never register or log in. "Therefore, we do not have access to any data that can identify a person," he continues. As for what they do with user data, they claim that they "do not sell data to third parties or transfer it to Russia.

Still, many feel that this answer does not address many other concerns. What about the application's right to use their data? What about the vague terminology used in the application's Terms of Service? Research by The Independent found that this type of terminology is very common within such applications. Should this make us feel a little safer or a little less violated?
FaceApp and privacy concerns: Just an exaggerated story?

While this may very well be just an exaggerated story, we believe the problem goes much deeper than we think or have seen with respect to Face App. If that kind of writing is standard in most applications of this type, it's much more important that we all be very careful about how we give away our data. In short, our personal data is more important than a couple of likes on Instagram or Facebook. So, our recommendation is that you be very careful. You never know where your data might end up or what bad people might do with it!

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