FaceApp terms of use have users concerned about their privacy

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Over the last week you might’ve noticed more and more photos of elderly people on social media.

This is thanks to the resurgence in popularity of FaceApp.

The return to popularity is thanks to a new filter which uses artificial intelligence to age the photo of the user. From what we’ve seen the filter is rather good although it doesn’t cope all that well with beards.

While it all appears like harmless fun folks have started to take a closer look at FaceApp’s terms of use and the fun turned to concern quickly.

As it turns out FaceApp is registered in Russia and one particular section of the terms of use has folks worried that their data might now be in the hands of the Russian government.

“FaceApp, its Affiliates, or Service Providers may transfer information that we collect about you, including personal information across borders and from your country or jurisdiction to other countries or jurisdictions around the world. If you are located in the European Union or other regions with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that we may transfer information, including personal information, to a country and jurisdiction that does not have the same data protection laws as your jurisdiction,” reads the terms of use.

This coupled with rumours that FaceApp is uploading your entire camera roll to its servers stoked fears even further.

Folks are also seemingly worried that FaceApp is allowed to share the data you upload with its affiliates. While they too have questioned the use of the word “affiliates” and how vague it sounds, the developers behind the app actually explain this in detail in its privacy policy.

“We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that FaceApp is part of, or that become part of that group (“Affiliates”),” reads the policy.

But what about concerns that FaceApp is swiping your entire camera roll? The developers issued a statement to TechCrunch addressing exactly that.

“FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud. We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud,” said the developers.

“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. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”

Despite addressing the concerns, that doesn’t seem to have been enough for US senator Chuck Schumer who has reportedly asked the FBI and FTC to conduct a federal national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp.

While folks are concerned about the risks associated with using an app developed by a firm based in Russia, it’s worth noting that Facebook has similar terms in its terms of use. Although with all the controversy Facebook has drawn lately, perhaps that’s not the best comparison to make.

[Image  – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.