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FaceApp: Innocent fun or sinister software? (2019)


Photo shows the FaceApp application available on the iTunes Store on an iPhone. – THE WASHINGTON POST


BY Hakim Hayat

CHANCES are that you woke up today discovering pictures of your friends and family looking like they are aged 50 years or older on Facebook or Instagram – caused by the latest social media craze, FaceApp.

The app, originally launched back in 2017, uses photos from your phone to show what an older or younger version of yourself could look like. This week, age-altered photos have gone viral thanks to an Age Challenge that saw everyone from celebrities like Drake to Miley Cyrus and even your best friend ageing by decades in an instant.

Developed by a Russian tech company, the app uses artificial intelligence to edit a picture in your phone gallery and ages the face in the image to that of someone two or even three times older.

While the makeovers are amusing, using FaceApp means you might be giving away more than you thought – and security experts worldwide are concerned. Attention is circling around a questionable clause in the app which stated that the software can access, store and use images from your camera roll without your permission.

FaceApp is currently one of the most downloaded apps for both iOS and Android amidst the #faceappchallenge craze which has taken over social media.

According to a report from TechCrunch, the app is able to access photos on Apple’s iOS platform even if a user has set photo permissions to “never”.

In an increasingly technology reliant society, some experts have highlighted that giving companies such access is dangerous, and accessing photos in such a way may breach privacy laws, adding that the photos can be compiled into biometric data to be used against users.

AFP reported that the app developer’s CEO told The Washington Post in a report on Thursday that the app did not use the photos for any other purpose.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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