The FBI is worried about FaceApp, a face transformation application imagined in Russia. For the agency, it could be a “potential threat of counterintelligence.
Unveiled last summer, FaceApp has prompted a surge of enthusiasm among users. Based on artificial intelligence, the application allows to transmit a photo of your face to meet your future self by changing your age. You can also change sex, enjoy a multitude of filters or change your hair.
In appearance, FaceApp has all of innocent and safe service, except that several questions were raised just weeks after the release of the app. In addition to the fact that it has been developed in Russia for two years, the collection of data and the way it is stored is not really clear.
FaceApp, a “potential counterintelligence threat”
It is precisely these points that urged the FBI to consider FaceApp a “potential threat of counterintelligence”. After worrying about smart TV yesterday, the US agency refers to the case of Russian service. These statements follow the interrogations of Chuck Schumer, a senator from New York State.
A warning to share with your family & friends:
This year when millions were downloading #FaceApp, I asked the FBI if the app was safe.
Well, the FBI just responded.
And they told me any app or product developed in Russia like FaceApp is a potential counterintelligence threat. pic.twitter.com/ioMzpp2Xi5
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 2, 2019
For now, there is no evidence that FaceApp is transmitting user data to the government, but the FBI cautioned that the country could access communications from ISPs. This means that any application designed in Russia, this one or another, may be likely to be spied on by the government.
For its part, FaceApp has always forbidden to share data it has collected with third parties, whether companies or the Russian government. The application ensures that user images are stored in the servers for 48 hours and then deleted. The servers in question would be located in the USA, Singapore and elsewhere, but not in Russia.
The potential misinformation that FaceApp could take part in was also discussed, given that Russia played a major role in the last US presidential elections. To do this, the government has used many online services like Facebook and Twitter. The FBI therefore fears that this will resume again in the votes of 2020.
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