Aging has become fashionable. Privacy concerns, not so much.

Aging has become fashionable. Privacy concerns, not so much.
Tom Holland as seen on FaceApp
Published: 18 July 2019 - 6:37 a.m.
If you're seeing a lot of friends posting pictures of how they would potentially look like in their senior years, you can thank FaceApp.

First going viral in 2017, the Russian based picture app with its AI engine could turn your pictures into the opposite gender or increase or decrease your age with surprising accuracy.

With all things popular, it appears that users have missed reading the fine print and are surprised that the app, having no privacy compliance, now have access to their pictures and their privacy policy says they are legally allowed to harvest metadata.

FaceApp has denied that its using this data for profit and data engineers suggest that this is the case. It's worth noting the app is behaving exactly the same like it does very much with Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp.

The thought however is scary that a company now has access to over 150 million faces in an age that image manipulation with AI and DeepFakes is getting hard to distinguish.

Like other AI filter apps, FaceApp uses servers to do its processing and has to be connected online. Faceapp confirmed to TechCrunch, that it accepts requests from users to remove their data from its servers. However, given the recent news, the team is currently “overloaded,” but users can send the request through Setting>Support>Report a bug with the word “privacy” in the subject line.

It's a simple rule really, if you post something on the internet, it's public. This isn't any different than uploading a picture on Facebook or Google services. This mirrors the events of the Facebook data breach scandal with Cambridge Analytica when the company extracted user data through quizes and then used that information for profit.

What makes FaceApp an interesting case which has captured the conversation is its really broard privacy policy that gives it full legal use of usernames, names and imagery both actual and modified to be able to be sold for commercial interests. FaceApp maintains it doesn't sell user data to third parties.

It's something to want to see what you'll look like 20 years into the future and it's a philosophical question on how you view aging, either way it's best to remind users to read the terms and  conditions before jumping on the trend and the conversation about how your data will be used will continue.


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