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Does Faceapp Really a Threat to Privacy? The Whole Story

In today’s world, privacy is a big thing. each individual wants to protect their personal information. In social media, the news of faceapp using personal information is circulating very fast and is hot news.

Some websites are saying that faceapp is a very dangerous to privacy but since they are saying that there is no need to panic as faceapp is safe.

So, what’s the matter and which one is true.

So, let’s discuss it.

Introduction (for newbies)

Basically, faceapp is an AI face editor app that adds filters to the face that are very real.

It lets you add filters like add glasses to your photo, turn you into old and young, give you a smile, gender swap, etc.

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It is very popular and ranks 1st the app store.

The whole issue

it all started when a Twitter user Scott Budman, tweets about the extra personal data that the faceapp collects.

One Twitter user, Elizabeth Potts Weinstein, in a series of tweets discuss the privacy policy that the company may use your username, photo, location, voice, etc can be used for commercial purposes and also for advertising. She also told that the company’s headquarters is in Russia and their policy is not GDPR compliant i.e your data can be transferred to another country like Russia.

After this a developer, Joshua nozzi tweeted that faceapp may upload all your photos to their servers, creating a privacy panic attack. But he later made an apology for blaming the company without any evidence.

“I was wrong about what I thought the app was doing (uploading all pics once granted access), and I was wrong to have posted the accusation without testing it first,” Nozzi wrote.

Is it really harmful?

A popular French cybersecurity researcher who used pseudonym Elliott Alderson checked the app. He found that it doesn’t upload all the images but only the image you edits. It only collects your photo your device ID and model. The real reason that people worry is due to its connection to Russia.

Another iOS researcher Will Strafach analyzed the app and found the same.

Faceapp responds

Faceapp’s chief executive, Yaroslav Goncharov responds. He told that the faceapp processes all the photos in the cloud for a short period, claiming it for performance and traffic, so that the user doesn’t have to upload photos again for another filter.

“Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date,” he adds

He also claims that no data is transferred to Russia, even the R&D team is i Russia. The cloud processing is done outside Russia through AWS and GCP.

He also claims that we don’t sell data to third-parties.

FaceApp also said you can request their data is deleted. Though it doesn’t yet have a very smooth way to do this — instead it asks users to send delete requests via the mobile app using “Settings->Support->Report a bug” with the word “privacy” in the subject line, adding that it’s “working on a better UI for that”.

Kashish Nagpal

I am a tech geek. I constantly wonder in the cyber space looking for the news for U.

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