FaceApp: an elected u.s. calls for an investigation of the FBI on the application of Russian

Finished laughing at FaceApp and its fun filters. The time is now to anxiety, or even paranoia. Republican senator Chuck Schumer has called on the FBI and the F

FaceApp: an elected u.s. calls for an investigation of the FBI on the application of Russian

Finished laughing at FaceApp and its fun filters. The time is now to anxiety, or even paranoia. Republican senator Chuck Schumer has called on the FBI and the FTC (the consumer protection authority u.s.) to investigate the application of Russian FaceApp. It is currently experiencing a peak of popularity on social networks and prances at the head of the most popular apps.

In his letter addressed to the directors of the FBI and the FTC, and Chuck Schumer complains that the application to require users to give "full access and irrevocably to their personal data," and fears of "risk to national security and the privacy of millions of american citizens". "In the era of the technologies of facial recognition, (...) it is essential that users have the information necessary to ensure the safety of their personal and biometric data," he continued. The security officer of the democratic national Committee (in charge of leading the democratic party), Bob Lord, has also warned the users of FaceApp of the risks to their privacy and has recommended to remove the application.

no evidence of a link with the Russian government

FaceApp is developed by the Russian company Wireless Lab LLC, based in Saint-Petersburg. Thanks to these filters, selfies, original - that can, for example, to age or sex-change-, this application is becoming very popular and would be home to 80 million active users. To date, there is no evidence yet that it has any link with the Russian government, nor that it housed its data in Russia. The researcher in cybersecurity Baptist Robert has studied the locality of the servers that the application uses to transfer the photos and edit them. He notes that these are primarily located in the United States or in Australia because the company has, in particular, recourse to the services of Google. The founder of FaceApp Yaroslav Goncharov has also confirmed to TechCrunch that the data were deleted from the platform within 48 hours and that they were not transferred to Russia.

On the other hand, the concern is particularly based on the terms of use and the privacy policy of the service. They mention that users cede their rights to the images they share. They can then be transferred elsewhere than in his country of origin, and then stored and used during an indeterminate length contract. As is the case for most Web services that we use, it is impossible to ascertain how long the pictures are stored or the use to which it is actually made without having access to the servers. In most cases, this can only be obtained in the framework of an investigation of a regulator or a trial.

"READ ALSO: FaceApp: is there a risk to your privacy and your data?

The anxiety that seized the Americans can seem paradoxical: applications such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat are also using facial recognition and arrogate to themselves many of the rights on the images shared. These have so far not sparked requests for investigations on the use of biometric data of millions of users. Many privacy advocates are concerned, however, the constitution of databases of biometric data without the knowledge of internet users. Last month, Microsoft has removed a database of 10 million images of celebrities gathered together to form the software supposed to be used by the police forces. IBM has already formed services in facial recognition using photos taken without the knowledge of users of Flickr.

Updated Date: 20 July 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees

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