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FaceApp Thrusts User Privacy into Spotlight amid Russian Ties

Last Updated September 25, 2020 8:43 PM
Lawrence Meyers
Last Updated September 25, 2020 8:43 PM

The “FaceApp” craze, in which users can use an application to see what they will look like when they are elderly, is experiencing a second wave of popularity. Yet privacy experts point out that FaceApp may just make it that much easier for your privacy to be invaded.

Your Data Is Your Concern

Nobody ever bothers to read disclosures on anything, much less social media. Consequently, users of FaceApp are missing the fine print, which says their information and photographs may be “accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed.”

As with most applications, your content can be shared amongst businesses that are legally linked to other companies.

In the case of FaceApp , your content can be accessed by the Russian company – and all of its affiliates – that are behind the application.

You may think this simply applies to the photograph you are using to aid yourself, but the situation is far more insidious. You’re actually giving away all of the information that is on your phone, including all of your contacts and all of your photographs.

You’re also giving them a license to use your photos along with your name, username, and your likeness for any commercial purposes that they want.

You are giving all of this to the Russians. That’s the country that was allegedly meddling in our last election.

At least, these are the concerns that are being raised regarding FaceApp.

FaceApp Pushes Back

FaceApp itself is pushing back on these claims .

FaceApp claims the only image it uploads from your phone is the one that you take to age yourself. FaceApp also claims that that image is usually deleted from their servers within 48 hours.

FaceApp also claims that it will remove all data from its servers upon request from any user. FaceApp also claims that – because its features are available without logging in and 99 percent of users don’t log in – it cannot use any data to identify a person.

FaceApp denies that it shares user data with any third parties and insists that user data is not transferred to Russia.

You Don’t Actually Care About Privacy, Do You?

So now we have both sides of the story. But we don’t have is any apparent understanding from the general public about privacy despite years of complaints from this same general public about privacy.

Ask anyone who uses any form of social media, or any application on a smartphone, if their privacy matters to them and they will say that it does. Ask them if they are uncomfortable with the idea that their personal information and data are routinely minded by all of these third parties and they will say that they are concerned.

Yet when it comes to actual action about protecting their privacy and data, they skip right over any disclosure, click ‘I agree,’ and begin using the software.

You Are Letting Big Tech Get Away with Murder

Unless and until people actually take their own privacy seriously, all of the uproar against Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other tech giants cannot be taken seriously – a $5 billion Facebook fine notwithstanding. This provides big tech giants with a pretty solid defense should major litigation ever arise.

All they have to say is, “Everyone says they’re concerned about privacy, but everyone presses the ‘I agree’ button and uses the app anyway.”

The big tech giants simply have to point out that if people were truly concerned about privacy, they would take far greater steps to protect it than they actually do.

Remember, there’s a saying in public relations, “content is forever.” It is. Don’t be a fool.