Major Privacy issues on Russian owned FaceApp

FaceApp has officially gone viral. Not a day goes by, where people don’t share their aged pictures on social media. It has reached a level of insanity on platforms like facebook, with everyone downloading the app to see what their future selves will look like.

However, as millions of people experiment with the app, there are some privacy-related challenges pertaining to the face-editing tool which you should know before downloading it.

Photo credit: FaceApp

Created by Russian startup Wireless Lab, this app has taken the world by storm. Seeing millions of people downloading the app and just clicking accept on the Ts&Cs without reading them.

Robert Siciliano, security awareness expert at Safr.Me, explains that while people get a laugh out of their photos, people need to remember that in return, apps such as this want a chunk of your data.

After all, data is a currency in the modern world.

Furthermore, Siciliano says any app which gathers data points which can lead to facial recognition should be a matter of concern. Especially when it is being used by government agencies.

Another reason to be wary of FaceApp, is that its privacy policy notes its affiliates and service providers may transfer information the app collects about you. Such is the nature of the concerns, several media outlets are currently reporting on FaceApp, warning people on privacy concerns.

The question to ask is, how is the company allowed to have privacy policies of such a nature and why don’t people read privacy policies? While the privacy issue is causing an outroar, it seems FaceApp did warn people, well to a certain degree.

Under the sharing of your information segment in its privacy policy, FaceApp states:

We will not rent or sell your information to third parties outside FaceApp (or the group of companies of which FaceApp is a part) without your consent, except as Parties with whom we may share your information: in this Policy.

Parties with whom we may share your information:

We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that FaceApp is part of, or that become part of that group (“Affiliates”).

The insanity continues…

Affiliates may use this information to help provide, understand, and improve the Service (including by providing analytics) and Affiliates’ own services (including by providing you with better and more relevant experiences). But these Affiliates will honour the choices you make about who can see your photos.

We also may share your information as well as information from tools like cookies, log files, and device identifiers and location data, with third-party organisations that help us provide the Service to you (“Service Providers”). Our Service Providers will be given access to your information as is reasonably necessary to provide the Service under reasonable confidentiality terms.

We may also share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners. This information would allow third-party ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you.

In another segment of the privacy policy, FaceApp says the following:

FaceApp, its Affiliates, or Service Providers may transfer information that we collect about you, including personal information across borders and from your country or jurisdiction to other countries or jurisdictions around the world (Scary!!). If you are located in the European Union or other regions with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that we may transfer information, including personal information, to a country and jurisdiction that does not have the same data protection laws as your jurisdiction. (This is of major concern!)

The apps Privacy Policy can be found here: https://www.faceapp.com/privacy

With wide access to personal information, your phone, the websites you visit on your phone and being allowed to share your data in foreign countries, is a few laughs and giggles worth the app?

If you have downloaded the app, what are your thoughts on giving a Russian company and its affiliates around the world, your life’s details?

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