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A flash mob with aging faces in FaceApp reached the USA. They thought about data security due to Russian application roots .

There are versions that the service trains the government surveillance system and “takes” in general all the photos from the phone. Part of the fears dispelled the media.

The application FaceApp from the Russian developer received a full “second life” two years after launch. The reason is a filter that “aged” the person in the photo. The new wave of popularity brought the service to the first places in the tops of the App Store and Google Play, although in June it closed the top 500 in Russia and was outside the first thousand in the United States.

The second wave of FaceApp: in social networks they again remembered the application, “aging” the person in the photo 

In the USA, where mass use of FaceApp came a little later in Russia, not only ordinary users began to use the “elderly” filter, but also stars like Drake, one of the best basketball players in the world of LeBron James or actor Terry Crews. By the degree of popularity, FaceApp can be compared to the spring hype on the Snapchat filter , “changing” the sex.

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But along with the popularity of the application came concerns about the privacy of these users. The main reason for concern in the US media and social networks: FaceApp is the application of Russian developers who were previously associated with Yandex and Skolkovo. Together with the scandals with Russian hackers about Russia’s interference in the elections in the United States, the question arose: what can the creators of FaceApp do with the data obtained?

Because of this, several popular warnings about using “aging” filters appeared on Twitter. Fears about Russia in this case overlapped with sentiments in the United States about possible surveillance using face detection. Already three American cities have banned this technology.

FaceApp was created and written by a Russian company collecting biometrics a year before the American election. It also collects your photos for which you did not give access. iOS 11 allows it

By the way, you know that FaceApp is a Russian company, right? Just want to make sure

TikTok is a Chinese application, FaceApp is a Russian one. It can be assumed that their governments can easily access your data if you use these services.

The Russian company: “Let us add you to our database of facial recognition.” Everything, that? Not! Fuck it! ” Russian company: “With our application, you can see how you would look in old age.” All: “Class! Yes! We love you, FaceApp »

I thought we had already concluded all last time that FaceApp is a very “muddy” application that probably uses photos of people to develop face recognition technology? And this technology will be used for government surveillance. In social networks there is nothing fun and at the same time free

Lawyer Elizabeth Weinstein reviewed the user agreement and reported that FaceApp received permission to use the name and photo for “any purpose, including commercial.”

But the biggest discussion in the media caused the message developer Joshua Nozzi. He said that as soon as he gave FaceApp access to his photos, the service began to download everything from the smartphone’s gallery, and not a specific picture. That is, according to Nozzi, Russian developers in theory can see and use for their own purposes all media files on the device.

To this was added the complaint of Carissa Bell’s Mashable editor: she noted that in FaceApp, you can select a photo to apply the filter, even if “Never give an application access to photos” in the settings of the iPhone.

In the world after the scandal with Cambridge Analytica, where thousands of people mistakenly entrusted their data to a seemingly harmless quiz, people rightly fear that their data will not be used the way they want.

And you don’t have to go far to find examples of how photo applications used the data obtained differently than they should. Ever used images to train face recognition systems, and then sold the technology to law enforcement. There was a data leak in PopSugar . And the FaceApp user agreement does not provide so many security guarantees.

Carissa Bell Mashable editor

Publication TechCrunch and Forbes have dispelled fears of the social networks on the FaceApp. For example, cybersecurity expert Elliot Alderson and the head of the Guardian App, Will Strafach, did not find any evidence that the service uploads all photos from a user’s phone to Russian servers.

FaceApp actually uploads snapshots to servers, rather than processing directly on a smartphone. But developers do this with specific selected photos that need to be “aged”. Moreover, all data is sent to the server not in Russia, but in the USA. The only question that remains is what kind of access the FaceApp authors have to the received files.

The media noted: not all users understand that the processing takes place not on the phone, but “on the side”. According to journalists, it was worth defining it more clearly – not everyone is ready to transfer their photos “to the cloud”.

There was an explanation and the situation with the iPhone. Applications really allow you to select a photo in FaceApp with privacy settings enabled, but only one thing – the ban on the rest of the library is still valid. According to TechCrunch, this system is fully consistent with the rules of Apple, in force since iOS 11.

The function is activated if the user clicked on the button “Add photo”. Once you clicked, the system does not interfere with this. FaceApp is still not accessing the rest of the library. As for me, this is much better than giving access to all files to a single playful application.

Matthew Panzarino TechCrunch Editor

Several Western publications sent inquiries to the founder of the service, Yaroslav Goncharov. He promised to answer all the questions and concerns on July 17.

Updated (19:20): TechCrunch has published a statement by FaceApp developers regarding concerns about data security. A few theses:

  • FaceApp uploads only one selected photo to the cloud, not the entire gallery. Most images are deleted from servers within 48 hours;
  • All FaceApp features are available without registration and login, so developers simply don’t receive most of the data to identify users;
  • Data is not transferred to Russia, nor is it sold to third-party companies.


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