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FACE APP IS A THREAT TO YOUR PRIVACY
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FACE APP IS A THREAT TO YOUR PRIVACY

by immenseplatformJuly 29, 2019

SPEED READ

Anyone who used a social media site last week saw the images. Photo after photo of faces that had been digitally. Altered to look older or younger or with different hair color. A variety of filters to change a person’s appearance. FACE APP IS A THREAT TO YOUR PRIVACY …

FaceApp has been around for a couple years, but recently saw a surge in popularity. More than 100 million people have reportedly downloaded the app, including many celebrities.

Shortly after last week’s viral surge, experts were vocal about their privacy concerns. By agreeing to the app’s terms of service, users grant its creators “perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide” ownership of images used in the app and the freedom to “use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish [and] translate” them however they see fit.

There were also questions that the app might scrape data from a user’s mobile photo album. Location, messages or other private information. The Democratic National Committee warned presidential candidates not to use the app. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on the FBI and the FTC to investigate its national security risks.

Why there’s debate: Reports about FaceApp’s potential privacy issues led many people to worry they had unwittingly handed personal information to Russian hackers, but so far there’s little evidence that has happened. FaceApp’s terms of service may sound troubling, but they’re similar. To agreements used by platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, experts say. Face App is a threat to your privacy:

Face App is a threat to your privacy

PERSPECTIVES

The terms of service give FaceApp’s developers too much power over personal data.

“It’s also worth noting the company’s extremely broad terms of service, which appear to give FaceApp permission to do anything it wants with your images.” — Michael Grothaus,.

FaceApp’s terms of service are scary — but it’s not the only app that should worry you.

“FaceApp isn’t unique here. Many apps use similarly vague ― and frighteningly far-reaching ― boilerplate language in their terms and conditions. This should concern you about all apps, not just FaceApp” — Ryan Grenoble.

FaceApp may be specifically designed to trick users into giving away data.

“There is the very real possibility that applications like these are simply honeypots designed to get you to give up information about yourself. You just sent them close-up, well-lit images of your face. Now they know your name and vital details and can create an annotated image record of you as a human.” — Marc Boudria, Hypergiant vice president of technology, to Popular Mechanics

The reaction to FaceApp shows how worried users are about data privacy.

“[Experts] also have concluded that the heightened panic was not based on the evidence, but rather anxiety after multiple cataclysmic data breaches in recent years that have made people proactively — and reflexively — protective of their privacy.” — Davey Alba.

FACEAPP SHOWS THAT CONSUMERS ARE LEARNING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA SECURITY.

“We care about our digital privacy but still don’t quite understand it. Which is what makes the last week potentially heartening in the long term. Privacy is complex and often dull and hard to get even concerned internet dwellers to pay attention to. This week, however, we’re paying attention.” — Charlie Warzel.

Focusing on privacy issues with one app lets the rest of the industry off the hook. “Singling out individual viral trends is no different from shaking a fist at a banker when you’re mad at capitalism: We direct our ire at one another, and the noose continues to tighten.”
— Sidney Fussel.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF?

If you’ve already downloaded the app and now feel uneasy about using it, FaceApp has said you can request that any data it has stored about you be deleted. To do this, tap the cog icon in the top left-hand corner of the app and select Support. Choose Report a bug and then Type Privacy followed by a message asking the company to delete your data, then press Report. Face App is a threat to your privacy

It’s also worth removing any permissions the app has, such as access to your photos or camera. To do this on an iPhone, go to Settings, select Privacy then tap on one of your phone’s features in the list that appears – the Camera, for instance. You’ll then see a list of the apps that have requested access to this feature. Use the slider buttons to select which ones can have access and which ones can’t. On an Android device, choose Apps, Permissions and again select the specific feature and use the slider to revoke access.

Before downloading an app in the future, research it online. Look for any concerns over security and read its privacy policy.There may be a link to it on the app’s listing in the app store. If not, check the app’s website. According to Raj Samani, Chief Scientist at McAfee. The privacy policy should state how your data is handled. Including how the data is used, how it is stored or transferred. How long the app will keep the data, details of how you can ask. Your data to be removed, and whether the data is accessed by any additional third parties.

Always review what permissions an app requires before accepting them. Are they in-keeping with the use of the app? If not, then don’t grant the app permission.

What else does FaceApp have to say?

Mr Goncharov shared a company statement that said FaceApp only uploads photos selected by users for editing. “We never transfer any other images,” the statement added.

“We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud.

“The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation.

The statement said that while FaceApp accepts requests from users to have their data deleted, the company’s support team was currently “overloaded”.

FaceApp advises users to submit such requests through settings, support, “report a bug” and add “privacy” in the subject line.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) told BBC News it was aware of stories raising concerns about FaceApp and that it would be considering them.

“We would advise people signing up to any app to check what will happen to their personal information and not to provide any personal details until they are clear about how they will be used,” a spokeswoman for the ICO said.

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