I woke up this morning to dozens of pictures on my feed of celebrities and friends all edited in a novel way. It’s become a global trend – millions have been modifying photos of themselves to make themselves look decades older thanks to an application called FaceApp. FaceApp, which is based in Saint Petersburg, makes use of artificial intelligence to allow people to alter their looks — and actually came under fire in 2017 for a “hot” filter that automatically whitened people’s skins.
People quickly raised concerns over the app’s terms and conditions, which includes the following passage:
“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.”
Basically, this implies that the app has control over any information that is uploaded on it. As a response, the developers of FaceApp released a statement that comprised of this excerpt:
“We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”
It also explained that despite being based in Russia, no data is actually returned to Russia.
Although apprehension over the app’s terms is understandable, it is absurd for phone users to become wary of editing apps only in this point of our digital age. Our 21st century dependence on the internet and the means of communications it gives us has the downside of giving these popular platforms the power to store whatever data they want. The fact is, signing up on social media, using photo-editing apps and even exchanging text messages automatically creates the possibility that your information will be stored somewhere other than your device. Realistically, a sure-fire way to stay off the cloud would be to clear your mobile of most existing apps and resort back to your old Nokia — doesn’t sound very appealing though, right?
— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) July 17, 2019
Featured Image: Instagram