The FaceApp app, which has suddenly gained a new life, is still at the top in both the Google Play Store and iOS App store. Actors, politicians, athletes and ordinary citizens have been “aging” their selfies for several days with the help of a special filter installed in FaceApp, and sharing their results on social networks.
But the US authorities do not share the fun. The Democratic National Committee warned the 2020 presidential candidates against using FaceApp for security reasons.
“This application allows users to perform various transformations with photographs of people. For example, aging them. Unfortunately, such innovations carry risks. FaceApp was developed by the Russians, ”said Bob Lord, the head of the security service of the committee .
FaceApp was indeed developed by the Russians. The Wireless Lab company, which owns this app, is registered in St. Petersburg. Its general director and part-time chief developer is a former Yandex employee, Yaroslav Goncharov . However, according to the company, although the application does have Russian roots, it does not send user data to the Russian Federation.
Considering Americans’ fears that the Kremlin allegedly somehow intervened in the 2016 presidential election, the current precaution against FaceApp is understandable. Judging by the statements of US politicians, every second person with Russian citizenship is somehow a hacker.
Bob Lord said that the Democratic National Committee and “other security experts” have concerns about FaceApp, which, in the process, has access to personal photos of the user.
“At the current stage it is not clear what exactly the risks are, but it is obvious that the advantages of ignoring the application outweigh them,” continued the head of the security committee.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer from New York State went a little further. He officially asked the FBI and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate FaceApp.
Schumer points to the fact that the use of FaceApp may pose threats to US national security, since users provide the application with “full and irrevocable access” to their personal data.
In addition, the senator suspects that Wireless Lab can secretly transmit information about US citizens to third parties without their consent.
“And as the head of the FBI Ray said earlier, Russia still poses a threat to US counterintelligence activities,” said Chuck Schumer.
The senator asked the FBI to investigate and establish the risks that may be associated with the use of this application, given its immense popularity. In addition, Schumer asks the Federal Trade Commission to connect to the test in order to make sure that the collected personal data of Americans are reliably protected and their privacy will not be affected.
“In an age of face recognition technology that is used for both security and surveillance purposes, it is crucial that users know how to protect their personal and biometric information, including from hostile foreign agents,” said Schumer at the end of his letters.
Independent experts and analysts also expressed their distrust of FaceApp. There are several reasons for being suspicious. First of all, an unexpected surge of interest in the application, which has existed for two years. In addition, some people noticed that FaceApp needs an internet connection to work, which in theory could mean that the application transmits somewhere uploaded photos of the user. There are no confirmations of these fears yet, but the scandal with Cambridge Analytica forces many to blow on the water, burning them with milk.