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FaceApp & your privacy....

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FaceApp Makes Today’s Privacy Laws Look Antiquated

Cameras are everywhere, and data brokers are vacuuming up information on individuals. But regulations have not kept pace.



"Americans give billions of dollars a year to industries that promise to make them look younger. FaceApp became wildly popular, seemingly overnight, for doing the exact opposite. Applying a filter powered by artificial intelligence, the photo-editing app modifies photos of its users’ faces to show them what they might look like when they’re much older. The resulting images aren’t the only thing about FaceApp that strikes some people as creepy.

FaceApp is the handiwork of a relatively unknown company in Russia—a provenance that, amid evidence of election interference and other misdeeds by Russian hackers, has raised widespread concerns in Washington. The Democratic National Committee and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are now calling out the app as a privacy threat.


Which it is. Yes, you should stop using FaceApp, because there are few controls on how your data, including your face data, will be used. But the problems that FaceApp poses aren’t unique. Walking around anywhere can get your face included in facial-recognition databases.

How that information can be mined, manipulated, bought, or sold is minimally regulated—in the United States and elsewhere......


The suddenly ubiquitous portrait-aging app collects user-submitted photos and other user data and stores some or all of that data in cloud servers. In a response to criticisms of its privacy practices, FaceApp released a statement claiming that “most” photos are deleted within 48 hours. However, there are no legal guarantees for this in the privacy policy. Wireless Lab, which developed the app, also says users can request that their data be deleted, but the process for doing this is not noted in the policy either.


FaceApp is not the only app with weak privacy protections. It’s not even the only photo-editing app with weak privacy protections. Consider China’s Meitu, or even Snapchat and Instagram....


our society hasn’t figured out how to deal with privacy in a way that actually protects individuals. The way we conceptualize privacy—by focusing, for instance, on the point at which a user decides to enter personal data into a website—is inadequate for the realities of today’s technology. Data are being collected all the time, often in ways that are all but impossible for consumers to know about. ...........

The problem isn’t photo-editing apps or third-party developers or Russian tech companies. What we are facing as a society is a systemic failure to protect privacy when new technologies force our preconceived notions of privacy to collapse. "



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