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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Dan Moren

FaceApp: Threat or menace?

FaceApp is a piece of software that lets you transform photos of people to show them as older or younger; it’s making the rounds once again, as are privacy and data security concerns related to it. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino, once again, has a reasoned take on the situation:

In this current wave of virality, some new questions are floating about FaceApp. The first is whether it uploads your camera roll in the background. We found no evidence of this and neither did security researcher and Guardian App CEO Will Strafach or researcher Baptiste Robert.

Panzarino also points out that though you can select a picture in FaceApp from your photo library without giving the app access, that is actually due to a feature introduced in iOS 11, which lets an app access a single photo selected by a user.

That said, FaceApp does upload your photo to the cloud in order to transform the image, and there are concerns about whether or not the photos have retained and what rights you are granting to the company. And, as some have pointed out, this data could be used for things like training AI-based facial recognition software, which may or may not be a consequence you intend when you just want to see what your friend looks like as a baby.

As always, it’s wise to tread carefully. Me, I skipped installing FaceApp just because I don’t care to see what I look like as wizened old man. I’d rather be surprised.