FaceApp has gone viral thanks to an Age Challenge which involves using the app to augment your face to look like an old person. It uses artificial intelligence to edit a picture in your phone gallery and transforms the image into someone double or triple your age. And whilst the AI-influenced makeovers are funny and eerily correct, using the FaceApp means you might be giving away more than you thought.
FaceApp is allowed to use your name, username or any likeness provided in any media format it likes without compensation, meaning you will not be paid for it, or have any ability to take it down or complain about it. This is also because FaceApp uploads your photo to the cloud for processing, it doesn’t carry out on-device processing like many apps do. After doing so, it retains the image long after you’ve deleted the app and moved on to the next viral sensation. People using the app are not made aware of this.
Tim Mackey, Principal Security Strategist at the Synopsys CyRC (Cybersecurity Research Center):
Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4:
“The implications on privacy for apps like Faceapp is extremely concerning. The app itself uses AI to digitally age users’ photos, which is fun from a novelty perspective, but the same types of AI is used to produce deepfake type of imagery which can be used for nefarious purposes such as public embarrassment or blackmail. The fact that faceapp retains access to iOS photos without permission should be a red flag for all app store maintainers”
Tim Erlin, VP at Tripwire:
“Overreaching terms of service are not a new phenomenon. In most cases, they’re written by lawyers who are tasked with protecting the company, not the consumer. It’s no surprise that terms of service are heavily skewed toward that end. The percentage of people who make a decision not to use an app because of the terms of service is very small. There’s no downside for an app publisher to be overly aggressive in what rights they claim in their terms. Until the terms become relevant to the apps adoption, we can expect more of the same.”