FaceApp, viral smartphone application, has more than 15 million active users. While the millennials are going gaga, here is a look at its disadvantages and dangerous elements.
What is FaceApp?
FaceApp, launched in 2017, is a face-editing photo app developed by a Russian company. It incorporates neural network technology to automatically generate highly realistic transformations of faces in photographs.
The app can transform a face to make one smile, look younger, look older, can change eye colour, hair looks and even gender for that matter.
Cyber security concerns
The FaceApp which has become a rage since the last few days across all the social media platform reminds one of Prisma which was widely trending a few years back.
However, the spate of Facebook scandals over the past couple of years have given us a takeaway, thus posing questions on the privacy of willingly giving away all your facial data while using FaceApp.
The wording of the terms and conditions for using the app is a matter of concern, “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.....,” it reads.
(Photograph:Zee News Network)
People are having fun making themselves look older and putting forth 'FaceApp Challenge' to one another. However, these face apps are changing the perception of beauty in some way or the other.
Given the filters of various kinds to make one look exquisite, it is made to believe that having scars, pimples, dark skin isn't something beautiful and can't be embraced. Contrary to people's expectations, it works as an artificial platform to meet people's preconceived notions of beauty.
The app could prove to be a boon for the cosmetic industry to showcase "beauty".
The viral smartphone application, which has seen a new surge of popularity due to a filter that ages photos of users' faces, requires "full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data," which could pose "national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens," US Senator Schumer said in his letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FTC Chairman Joe Simons.
A waste of time
People are fascinated by FaceApp hence a sudden increase in its usage has been registered since the past few days.
To be precise, the app has no productivity, some people even find it to be 'an utter waste of time and energy'.
FaceApp, which was developed by Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, says on its website that it has over 80 million active users. Its CEO, Yaroslav Goncharov, used to be an executive at Yandex, widely known as "Russia's Google."
(Photograph:Zee News Network)
US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called on the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp.
The Democatic National Committee also sent out an alert to the party's 2020 presidential candidates on Wednesday warning them against using the app, pointing to its Russian provenance.
The app, which was launched in 2017, made headlines in 2018 when it removed its 'ethnicity filters' after users condemned them as racist.
More recently, it has faced scrutiny from the public over issues such as not clearly communicating that the app uploads images to the cloud rather than processing them locally on a user's device.
It is not clear how the artificial intelligence application retains the data of users or how users may ensure the deletion of their data after usage, Schumer said in the letter.
Schumer said the photo editing app's location in Russia raises questions about how FaceApp lets third parties, including foreign governments, have access to the data of American citizens.
In a statement cited by media outlets, FaceApp has denied selling or sharing user data with third parties.
"99% of users don't log in; therefore, we don't have access to any data that could identify a person," the company said in a statement cited by TechCrunch.
While the company's research and development team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia, according to the statement.