FaceApp has been around for years, but suddenly the app appears to be popular again. The pictures of people who make themselves old are often funny, but when it comes to data protection, the matter is less witty.
FaceApp And Your Privacy
FaceApp has been around since 2017 and immediately became popular. In 2018 and 2019 the app ended up in calmer waters, but since a few days, you see plenty of photos of the app popping up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. People use FaceApp to make their face look younger or older or to see what they look like as the opposite sex.
The problem with FaceApp is that your photos are sent to their servers. There they are processed and the edited picture is downloaded to your phone. The reason they do the processing on their servers is that it requires a lot of processing which a phone can’t handle. But what they do with your picture after it has been uploaded to their servers is not known yet.
This is not wise from a privacy point of view. The problem is that the app does not make clear exactly what happens to the saved faces of users. In addition, FaceApp records a lot of personal information that is not necessarily necessary for the purpose of the app which is changing faces.
FaceApp Privacy Cannot Be Checked
Privacy experts also advise against using FaceApp. David Vaile, head of the Australian privacy fund, says: “FaceApp requires more data than they need to perform the service. Moreover, thanks to the loose privacy conditions, they can share it with virtually every party. “
Vaile adds: “In this way, it is virtually impossible to check what happens to your face information after uploading.” It is therefore difficult to check where the stored information ends up and in whose hands.
Jon Lawrence, chief of the digital civil rights organization Electronic Frontiers, also warns. “Face recognition is becoming increasingly popular as a security measure and therefore people should think twice before giving their face to any app.”
Finally, the app is being developed in Russia, which means that European and American legislation does not apply. If you have already used FaceApp to make your face different or to change your gender, the damage has already been done. It is not possible to delete your portrait from the database.
Protect Online Privacy
You should be very careful about giving apps access to your phones data. There could be hundreds if not thousands of malicious apps fishing for your data. Even big corporations like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have been found sharing your data with third parties. It is also wise to critically review the privacy settings of the Google Assistant. Also, read our Android privacy guide to read more about how you can protect your privacy while using your phone.
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