With the popular FaceApp you can look older in photos, but also give your photos and personal information to a company that can sell them. What exactly can buyers of this information do?
What is FaceApp?
FaceApp is a popular smartphone application that allows you to place a filter on selfies. This allows you to see, for example, how you would look like an old man or a woman. The popularity of the app has increased a lot in recent weeks and is also used by many celebrities.
What exactly does FaceApp collect?
FaceApp collects and stores all the photos captured by users. In addition, they are stored data that give information about your phone, along with cookies, logs, your location and the use of your application.
What does FaceApp do with this data?
All your data is shared with "companies of a group to which FaceApp belongs or companies that can later join this group".
Because other parties can freely participate in this group, virtually every company has access to the data. This allows anyone to buy them. FaceApp does not disclose to which institutions it has been allowed to examine the data so far.
Can data be circumvented?
If FaceApp data falls into the wrong hands, they can be used to outline an extensive profile of your online behavior. Your photo and your phone's identification code can be linked to data from, for example, data leaks to identify your interests. Even leaks of email addresses, credit cards, and passwords can be linked to this profile.
Is that really going on?
There are no specific cases in which FaceApp data may be circumvented, for example, by crimes. However, the amount of processed data and privacy terms make this theory possible.
Cyber criminals have previously exploited data leaks in a similar way, for example, to steal identity cards or hack bills.
Certainly, technology companies collect data more often? Why is FaceApp so upset?
FaceApp is manufactured by Wireless Labs, a headquartered company Russia. The company does not have a European office, which makes it difficult to invoke the European privacy law. The company is most likely not responding to requests to deliver or delete your data. In addition, FaceApp will not tell you where your data is currently.
The fact that the company is in Russia is also a sign of no confidence. Government hackers in the country have been accused several times of hacking attacks and misinformation efforts in social media. The company Antivirus Kaspersky still had to transfer its headquarters from Russia, claiming that the company was cooperating with the local government.
How can I prevent my data from being used?
The data collected by FaceApp can no longer be removed from the company. You can choose to remove the application and use it now to prevent new data being collected.
In addition, with future free applications it is prudent to see where the creator is and what happens to the data. An application's privacy statement often indicates what it collects programmer and what its use is. If a company is located in Europe, then the manufacturer must comply with a strict privacy law, which means you can always ask for the deletion of your data.