The internet is abuzz with a trend of posting a photo of how one would look like when they are old. Helping internet users do this is a new face-modifying mobile app, FaceApp. The app has gone viral all over the world and offers several face modification effects on Android and iOS versions. That’s the good part! Now comes the bad news which is that the app also happens to be a privacy nightmare.
We have all heard how brute hacking compromise user data, the FaceApp is a new challenge as the app is discreetly taking user consent and poses a serious challenge to data privacy and protection.
What is FaceApp?
The Russian app developed firm called Wireless Lab developed the application that lets users know how they will look like in future. FaceApp’s AI engine gives you results about your future appearance. The app was a brainchild of a former Microsoft engineer, Yaroslav Goncharov. Th app is in the news this week for alleged violation of user privacy.
FaceApp is a free to download app with in-app purchase options for additional features. The freemium approach has helped FaceApp to spread widely across geographies. More than 100 million Android users have downloaded this app.
Neural network technology
The app’s algorithm takes the picture of your face as an input and adjusts it on the basis of imagery and stored data. It can modify features like colours, breads, and swap gender among all the transformation of your picture. The app uses deep generative convolutional neural networks.
Terms & conditions
The terms start off harmlessly by declaring that the platform does not claim ownership of any user content that is posted on the platform. But it also adds that, “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.”
What is so dangerous about it?
When you download the app, it asks you a series of questions. The Privacy policies include access to photos stored on your device. The app violates European Union’s GDPR regulations as well. The speculations around the app started when some users pointed out a clause that gives the company perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free access to use photos users upload on the platform. If you are sharing your photos with a third party app, you have to be bit more cautious about it.