Viral photo-aging tool FaceApp sparks privacy concerns

Viral photo-aging tool FaceApp sparks privacy concerns
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Legal experts are raising concerns over FaceApp’s viral photo-aging feature, claiming the Russian-based company may pose privacy concerns for users. 

The photo-filtering app has gained mass attention again this week as social media platforms have been filled with celebrities sharing images of themselves with the aging filter, and the company is pushing back on warnings that that users should be concerned over privacy, claiming it only has access to a single photo chosen by the user. 

Critics have taken issue with FaceApp’s broad language in its privacy policy.

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The policy states, “FaceApp cannot ensure the security of any information you transmit to FaceApp or guarantee that information on the Service may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed.”

The policy also allows FaceApp to share user content with businesses affiliated in the same group of companies. 

“It's a Russian company, so once you grant access you are granting access to all of those companies,” said ABC News chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. 

CNN reported Wednesday that the Democratic National Committee (DND) sent a security alert to 2020 presidential campaigns on Wednesday urging them not to use the Russian developed app, citing it as a security risk. The Hill reached out to DNC for comment.

Attorney Elizabeth Potts Weinstein tweeted a warning to users that by accepting its privacy policy users are “giving them a license to use your photos, your name, your username, and your likeness for any purpose including commercial purposes.”

FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told The Guardian that data is not transferred to Russia but instead stored on U.S.-controlled cloud computing services provided by Amazon and Google. 

He said FaceApp does not sell or share any user data with any third parties. 

Researcher Jane Wong tweeted that she doesn’t see anything “fishy” with the app, but she added that she wishes there’s an option for users to delete their photos from the server.

FaceApp did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.

—Updated at 4:37 p.m.