Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has called for the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate FaceApp, which alters users’ photos to make them look older or younger, owing to a concern that the app violates privacy laws by keeping our selfies.
Recently, Faceapp has been taking social media by storm, with celebrities and the rest of us all brought together by making ourselves look older, or learning what we would look like with a beard. It’s a good bit of harmless fun to upload a selfie to see your face change. Or so we were thinking.
Privacy concerns have been raised about the Russian company which developed the app after it went viral in the last few days days.
In a letter to the intelligence agencies, Senator Schumer wrote that the app poses ‘national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens’ – and presumably citizens of any other country that uses it, Labible reported.
Sen. Schumer called it “deeply troubling” in a letter posted on Twitter that personal data of US citizens could go to a “hostile foreign power.”
With the letter attached, he wrote: “The @FBI & @FTC must look into the national security & privacy risks now because millions of Americans have used it. It’s owned by a Russian company. And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data.”
BIG: Share if you used #FaceApp:
Because millions of Americans have used it
It’s owned by a Russia-based company
And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data pic.twitter.com/cejLLwBQcr
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 18, 2019
FaceApp has previously denied the allegations, according to BBC. Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, says it does not permanently store images and does not collect troves of data – only uploading specific photos selected by users for editing.
Currently, the website of FaceApp claims it has more than 80 million active users.
In a statement, FaceApp has responded to claims that most images are deleted from the cloud within 48 hours and that it doesn’t share any user data with any third parties. It also said that although the core team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred there, according to Labible.
Sen.Schumer’s calls for a probe comes after the Democratic National Committee reportedly warned 2020 presidential candidates and their campaigners not to use the app, according to BBC.
“It’s not clear at this point what the privacy risks are, but what is clear is that the benefits of avoiding the app outweigh the risks,” security officer Bob Lord reportedly told BBC.