The FaceApp application, capable of changing faces in photos, has recently gained enviable popularity. But not everyone was satisfied with its capabilities - the US senator called the program a threat to US national security and accused its developers of illegally storing personal data and user files.
The development of the Russian company Wireless Lab uses a neural network to modify the images of people in photographs, changing their age, gender, and appearance, up to the addition of realistic tattoos and makeup. But despite the wide popularity of the application, some found his license agreement suspicious: allegedly it requires too many rights to access personal files in the memory of the smartphone. According to US Senator Chuck Schumer, undocumented features are hidden in the application code. In particular, the politician accused the creators of FaceApp of unaccounted downloading of photos and other information to the company's servers.
“FaceApp uses artificial intelligence to change photos of people, making them younger or older, or choosing the opposite sex. However, to use the application, you must provide the company with full and unconditional access to personal photos and data, ”said the senator in his Twitter blog.
Chuck Schumer, US Senator
Schumer expressed concern about the possibility of using this information in the future. In his opinion, data processing on the developer’s side and finding the company in Russia is suspicious of merging data from American citizens to third parties, including foreign governments. The politician appealed to the FBI for an investigation into the application itself and its authors for a threat to US national security.
However, foreign media could not confirm the statement about FaceApp access to all images on smartphones. Reporters of TechCrunch noted that the request for access to media files is a normal scenario for mobile operating systems.
The founder of the company Yaroslav Goncharov has already published an official response to the charges. He confirmed that the processing of photos is carried out in the cloud, but only those images that the user has chosen are uploaded. Most uploaded photos are deleted from the server within 48 hours, and requests for immediate deletion are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Over 90% of FaceApp users, according to Goncharov, process images without authorization, so the company does not have access to data to identify the person. Although the company is located in Russia, it uses Google cloud services, and the developers do not sell or transfer any information to third parties.