FaceApp is trending again! The application that allows users to generate highly realistic transformations of faces using a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is making people’s social media timelines again. The app gained popularity two years ago when it was initially launched by the Russian company Wireless Lab, but then it faded away. However, recently, a whole list of high-profile stars that include Kevin Hart and Drake shared their experience with the app, and suddenly, the FaceApp mobile application ended up back in the game.

Millions of people from all over the world are sharing the results on social media using the #faceappchallenge hashtag. The photo editing tool is meant to entertain consumers by making it possible for them to augment themselves to look younger or older, among other things. The app developed by the Saint-Petersburg-based company has been downloaded millions of times and is one of the most downloaded apps in the world.

While seeing how a person would look after a gender swap may sound exciting, the viral application raises a whole lot of security concerns worth pointing out, as consumers may not be fully aware of the amount of information they give up by using the application. Last time an otherwise innocent “This Is Your Digital Life” personality quiz on Facebook exploded into the well-known Cambridge Analytica scandal that had an impact on the US presidential elections in 2016 and had Mark Zuckerberg summoned for lengthy hearings before the US Congress.

The fact that the app is gaining so much popularity in such a short amount of time is impressive – it speaks to the people. However, users need to keep in mind that while seeing how they would look with a beard may sound exciting, they may unintentionally give away lots of personal information too. As per the app’s terms and conditions section, the company can share any information within the organization and the group of companies of which FaceApp is a part from.

Such data includes cookies, log files, and device identifiers and location data as well as all your images. The T&C of FaceApp continues stating that they have the right to share such data with anyone as long as they remove the parts of data that can identify you. This means that Wireless Lab and its group of partners companies can sell anonymized data to the highest bidder. According to the company’s T&C data “cannot reasonably be used to identify any particular individual user.” While they say that personal information will be taken off, experts say that troublemakers that include foreign states can find a way to puzzle the info back and match it with the personal data of the users it belongs to even though this action would be against the rules. The privacy policy of the Russian company does not say much about how it plans to safeguard user content stored on its servers and prevent this from happening.

With Facial Recognition technology entering our lives, and with FaceApp being a sole owner of all the images uploaded to their servers, the small Russian company is essentially building a vast database with the faces of millions of people that one day may, or may not, be used by them for other purposes. Worst case scenario, such data could get hacked or leaked in the hands of businesses with questionable morals, hackers, or foreign states.

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