Viral app ‘FaceApp’ causing fears of invasion of privacy

A Viral app named ‘FaceApp’ has been giving people the ability to change their facial expressions, looks, and now age for several years. But at the same time, people have been giving FaceApp the authority to use their pictures — and names — for any purpose it wishes, for as long as it wishes.

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The app has been downloaded by more than 100 million people from Google Play. According to App Annie, FaceApp is now the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries.

While according to FaceApp’s terms of service people still own their own “user content” (read: face), the company owns a never-ending and irrevocable royalty-free license to do anything they want with it … in front of whoever they wish:

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.”

Once something is uploaded to the cloud, you’ve lost control whether or not you’ve given away legal license to your content. That’s one reason why privacy-sensitive Apple is doing most of its AI work on-device.

“To make FaceApp actually work, you have to give it permissions to access your photos – ALL of them. But it also gains access to Siri and Search …. Oh, and it has access to refreshing in the background – so even when you are not using it, it is using you,” said former Rackspace manager Rob La Gesse.

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