Popular App Sparks Privacy Concerns

iPhone users at greatest risk

28 April 2017

Article heading image for Popular App Sparks Privacy Concerns

FaceApp - the viral app that lets you transform your selfies into other people - is causing much concern amongst privacy advocates.

At the moment, the app is the number one download on iPhones across Australia, and the world. More than 700,000 people download it across the world everyday (Applyzer.com).

The Russian-based network creators say the app works on a basic artificial intelligence algorthym known as the 'neural network'. Basically, it scans faces to make a photorealistic comparison, then transforms the image into a younger, older, differing gender face.

But, the app is not clear on where it stores the data, or even how it accesses the data on your phone. The app's privacy policy says it reserves the right to store and share data as it sees fit. Of course, this is not limited to just FaceApp. Many apps these days now use the same rhetoric.

This particular app has also run into issues based on racial allegations. 


It seems in some cases, it's been whitening skin in its 'hotness' filter, equating lighter skin with levels of attractiveness. 

All of this combined has prompted the chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, David Vaile to warn against using the app.

"They ask for way more rights than they need to offer the service to you, [they] can remove the data from any effective legal protection regime, share it with almost anyone, and retain it indefinitely," Mr Vaile told the national broadcaster.

His advice is quite simple: "In short, don't use it."

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