The past few weeks have not been so rosy for the Russian developed facial transformational app known as FACEAPP. It had gone ahead to make top of trends in the press and on social media. Never before had a simple android/ios app garnered such a contrasting interest.
You may begin to think that this app is quite new in the public domain until you get to hear that it has actually been around since 2017. No buzz, no complaints….and of course, no naysaying.
What then could have caused the upheaval, with people becoming suspicious and demanding a probe on the App usage policy and data system?
Well, firstly, let’s get to know a bit history and features about this controversial “Faceapp”.
FACEAPP: A brief Unboxing!
FaceApp is typically a mobile application available for download on iOS and Android operating systems. It was developed by a Russian company known as Wireless Lab. This company uses a technology known as neural network technology to automatically generate highly realistic transformations of faces in photographs formats. This basically means that the app can transform just any face to make it smile, look younger, look older, or change gender.
With this app, we have even gone ahead to prove our claim in this article about Reginald Daniel’s choice of husband.
The two seems to age uniformly. No jokes….take a look below:
Another Nigerian Social Media user has even gone ahead to test the app on some of the past and present National leaders and the results aren’t disappointing. Literally, the app is such an amazing feat.
This app is actually fun to play around with. Attracting multitude of users especially gaining a lovable reputation among the LGBT groups and transgender groups. Why? Because it could offer them the ability to realistically simulate the appearance of a person as the opposite gender.
So, If Every One Is Loving The App, What Then Is The Fuzz About?
Although the app has been around since 2017, however, in 2019 concerns were raised over the app’s privacy of user data. Both on the press and on social media, people suspected that the app is generating users data for the Russian country.
Over the last few days, as the #FaceAppChallenge went viral, a software developer by the name Joshua Nozzi, warned, “ BE CAREFUL WITH FACEAPP… It immediately uploads your photos without asking whether you choose one or not”. This has triggered privacy concerns. Like that wasn’t enough, The New York Times’ Charlie Warzel, took to his Twitter Page to blast that “The app that you’re willingly giving all your facial data to says the company’s location is in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
Now, the belief is that the Russians, unlike the America techies, are harvesting these data for nefarious reasons.
The Company Founder, Yaroslav Goncharov however, debugged this claim. He stated that the user data and uploaded images collected were not being transferred to Russia but instead processed on servers running in the Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services.
Particularly this part of the Privacy of user data stated below, generated most of the fuzz:
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.
And as a matter of urgency, a U.S senator Chuck Schumer expressed "serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it" and called for an FBI investigation into the app.
But amidst the commotions, the reality of the matter is to a large extent, not whether the Russians have an underlying motive or not. But who gets hold of the data generated by this app.
So, the questions now remain: Do you think that Russians are using the FaceApp to generate data for nefarious purposes?
Do you trust the FaceApp have nothing sinister concerning user data?
Are you going to continue using the FaceApp for fun regardless?
Before you go ahead to answer that, it would interest you to know that earlier this year, it was reported that at Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado has been secretly photographing students for a supposed facial recognition study, without their consents or knowledge.
The funding according to the report, came from US intelligence and military agencies…
Well, the bottom of the story is that it is needless of you to be too concerned about a Russian app and I will tell you why.
We now lived in a world where in many occasions, our privacy have been bridged by people or bodies we trust. Our own very Government not an exception. The fight for supremacy and importance makes one government or body suspect and accuse the other of complicity. The quest for domination and power.
In my opinion, we should worry about everything and not just a piece of Russian App. Like every other phases of realization we have encountered, we only beginning to realize that we can no longer keep our faces private.