Today my Question about Viral Faceapp Does the app threaten the aging of your privacy?
The FaceApp application again became viral. But are there any underwater stones in it?
After becoming viral in 2017 and gaining more than Faceapp 80 million active users, the FaceApp application again became the center of attention thanks to the so-called FaceApp Challenge, in which celebrities (and not only them) age their faces with the help of the in-app filter. FaceApp uses artificial intelligence to create a visualization of your appearance on your iPhone or Android over several decades.
However, this week a single tweet led to panic on the Internet when the developer reported that the application can collect all the photos from your phone and upload them to their servers without the explicit permission of the user. Tweet author Joshua Nozzi later said that he tried to draw attention to the fact that FaceApp has access to all the photos, even if it does not upload them to a server owned by a Russian company.
All this turned out to be another storm in a glass of water, of which there are so many on the Internet. The cybersecurity researcher, known under the pseudonym Elliot Elderson (real name Baptiste Robert), installed the application and checked where it sends users’ faces. According to Elderson, FaceApp sent only uploaded photos — the ones you want to process — to the company’s server.
Where is this server located?
In America, not in Russia. FaceApp.io servers are located in Amazon data centers in the USA. In addition, as noted by Elderson, the application uses software code developed by third parties, so it will communicate with their servers, and they are again in the US and Australia.
Since the development company is located in St. Petersburg, the photos will be viewed and processed in Russia. It is unclear how much access Viral FaceApp employees have to these images. And at the time of publication, Forbes did not receive a comment from the company about what it does with the uploaded photos.
Should I worry about privacy?
FaceApp could act differently. It could, for example, process photos on your device, rather than send downloaded images to an external server. “I’m sure many people don’t like it,” said iOS security researcher Will Strafah.
It is unclear how well FaceApp’s artificial intelligence would process photos on the device, and not on more powerful servers. But it is clear why the application does not do this: Trending FaceApp develops algorithms for changing faces by learning from photos uploaded by users.
Users who are concerned that the application has permission to access absolutely all photos should take a look at the tools installed on their smartphone. Probably many of them have access to photos and much more. For example, to all your movements due to location. If you want to change the access parameters for your personal information – either delete the application or go to its settings on your iPhone or Android and specify which data you can use.