Is FaceApp Sharing Your Data With Russia?

Ever since the recent rise in popularity of the FaceApp, many people are concerned with the security of their data. Using artificial intelligence, the app transforms faces into younger or older versions, smiling versions, versions with makeup, and more.

Related: The Best Indoor Home Security Cameras for Artificial Intelligence

Developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, FaceApp uploads all images to remote servers in order to make the process faster, necessary until 5G becomes ubiquitous. Although many people were concerned that they were handing their data to the Russian government, the company has said that the images are deleted within 48 hours.

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FaceApp screenshots provided by FaceApp.

The concern over data privacy regarding FaceApp is part of a larger problem that people have with their data, according to John Grimm, Senior Director of Strategy and Business at nCipher Security. In an interview with Security Baron, Grimm said explained how customers know so little about how apps use their data,

“Most of the time, users don’t have full visibility to the digital journey of their data. Privacy policies tend to be onerous and cumbersome, causing people to skip them without reading through. Consumers need to demand simpler, common languages across products, as well as innovations to protect consumers.”

New York Bans Facial Recognition Testing In Schools

Although the FaceApp uses artificial intelligence for fun purposes, it’s also been used for security, even by the public sector, which has caused criticism. The New York State Education Department, for example, has banned the testing and usage of facial recognition citing student privacy concerns, according to The Buffalo News.

However, Kevin Freiberger, Director of Identity Programs at Valid, believes that facial recognition technology can be used in the public sector without compromising people’s privacy. The key, he said in an interview with Security Baron, is storage. Ideally, the biometric data should be separated from any identifiable information so the two can’t be matched. It’s unclear exactly how FaceApp stores its data within the 48 hours that its stored in the cloud, although that information would probably be of interest to many of its users.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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