Does FaceApp Deserve the Rep It’s Getting?
Recently, the FaceApp Challenge took the world by storm, with hundreds of millions of users have been adding decades to their appearance using FaceApp’s age filter. However, researchers and experts all around the world have raised their voices in concern that this app could present a big risk for the user’s privacy. In this week’s Zlog, we will talk about possibly danger users are in based on the current evidence, in order to determine if this face editing and face recognition app is as bad as its presented to be in the recent few weeks.
Should You Be Concerned?
While wrongly based paranoia and widespread panic might be a common thing on the internet, some aspects of the FaceApp editing application do raise a few legitimate questions. Not many people have bothered to read the Terms and Conditions before downloading FaceApp, but those who have decided to go through the information could see that the T&Cs page comes with a few shady conditions, with one that especially stands out. It says:
“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 Does This Mean for FaceApp Users?
Admittedly, this is a long and tedious sentence that doesn’t make much sense but carries a scary meaning. If you accept these T&Cs, you’re granting the app the full right to use your name, photos and any other content they have access to in any way, shape or form they want. While there are barely any risks that this information will be used directly against you (unless you’re an aspiring politician), this type of data can still be exploited in different ways.
First of all, it’s a questionable permission in itself, as FaceApp requires direct access to your photo library. But, how grim this may sound, it’s not nearly all. If you click to accept the app’s Terms and Conditions, you will also be giving FaceApp full access to your browser history, metadata, location and more.
What’s also troubling is that FaceApp also receives the right to store your photos on their servers, as long as they want, no matter if you’re still using the app or if you’ve uninstalled it. This means that once you accept those T&Cs, you’ll have no control of the data you’ve shared with the app. With this being the case who knows what they can do with the data. After all, we’ve already seen near-identical incidents in the past, most notably with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Are Things As Grim as They Seem?
Prominent websites have reported the company’s response to all of these issues and allegations. FaceApp has addressed the concerns of its users and, to be frank, provided us with some information that may help us to understand that things aren’t as bad as they initially seemed. The biggest takeaway from their statement was their confirmation that the app doesn’t store images on its servers for longer than 48 hours from the moment they’re uploaded. The company also says that it doesn’t sell any user data to third parties. Additionally, founder Yaroslav Goncharov said that users can request from the app to delete their data by reporting a privacy-related bug in the app’s settings tab.
Things to Keep In Mind
The FaceApp scare was definitely a big one and new details may still arise out of this event. With that being said, as time goes by, it looks like this app isn’t all that conspiracy theorists claimed it to be. Hopefully, this and similar events will help you to look at your personal and private information in a more serious light and not accept new trends at face value, because in some cases, they can come with much bigger risks than rewards. For more privacy and online security news and tips, stay tuned with our weekly ZoogVPN blog.