Popular aging tool “FaceApp” causing privacy concerns

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The popular face aging app called FaceApp was trending Wednesday over privacy concerns of it being made by a Russian company.

FaceApp, released in 2017, allows the user to upload a picture to show you what you would look like younger or older, with or without glasses, with or without a smile, and with or without facial hair.

When the news broke that it was a small Russian tech company that created the app, people from senators to everyday people weighed in on whether they were concerned about the privacy over their personal information and photos.

Dereko Rice, a resident of Memphis, said he and his nephew will play with the app and love the humor they see in the photos. Rice said he isn’t worried about whether his personal information will be hacked.

“Just because something is trendy doesn’t mean you have to download it,” Rice said.

He said people already have their photos and information all over social media, so he doesn’t feel like this time is any different.

“It’s only so far you can go with stealing somebody’s identity,” Rice said. “And then stealing my face when I’m looking 90 and I’m clearly not.”

However, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the FBI and FTC to investigate this app because of the millions of Americans that have used it.

In the tweet he said, “BIG: Share if you used #FaceApp: The @FBI & @FTC must look into the national security & privacy risks now. Because millions of Americans have used it. It’s owned by a Russia-based company. And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data.” The Democratic National Committee is warning 2020 presidential campaigns not to use the app. A top DNC security official said that potential privacy exposure is still unclear, but the risks outweigh the benefits. The DNC was hacked by Russia prior to the 2016 presidential election. Consumer protection attorney Kevin Snider said people should always be mindful of they post on social media and the Internet. “Any information that you put out there becomes public domain,” Snider “You have a choice to make on the front end either put your information, put your picture out there or don’t.”

Snider said people automatically put themselves at risk when they post a photo of themselves on the Internet.

“Once you put your information out there you’ve kind of waived your privacy and your protection to it because quite bluntly you didn’t have to put your picture out there,” Snider said.  FaceApp’s privacy policy hasn’t been updated since 2017 and critics caution the app may collect more than just pictures you upload. According to the policy, FaceApp “cannot ensure the security of any information you transmit to FaceApp or guarantee that information on the service may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed.”

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