A Russian mobile program that ages faces generate doubts about whether it respects the right to image and privacy. Artificial intelligence has turned the usual and old practice of retouching images into a dangerous game. The difficulty of distinguishing between an innocent manipulation for amusement or to show a parody of reality and an image that seems absolutely real takes this practice to the limit of what is admissible.
The fashion of the FaceApp application, a program that can, among other skills, intentionally age any person’s photography, has once again called into question this practice, especially when downloading it on the mobile phone warns that the data may be ceded to third parties and lose control of their own image.
There is no doubt that FaceApp, number one in the main application stores in the world and a social media broadcast that reaches the viral rating, is the success of the moment. If you still do not know this famous app you may not frequent much Twitter and other social networks, since their presence in them is, at this time, massive. What exactly is FaceApp and why are the first alarms leaping among security experts?
This application uses a neural system based on artificial intelligence that analyzes the photograph that is automatically uploaded to its servers to achieve the desired effects or aging the protagonist of the photo with surprising realism.
The fact that the central base is outside the European Union hinders the application of Community legislation on data protection, the most demanding of those existing in developed countries.
On the other hand, when the conditions of use of the application are accepted, it is specified in the authorization request that the data may be transferred to third parties. In addition, it is not usually an element in which users repair when they continue with the installation.
The first alarms about the risks that the user runs when downloading and using this application have not been slow to arrive: do we know exactly what happens with the photographs once they are transformed and returned to the user?
The terms of privacy are vague enough to arouse suspicion and, if this were not enough, the creators of the app move forward in the contract that the user accepts that their information might be moved to outsiders.
“This is something very worrying,” said an expert lawyer in digital communication, who raises the accusation against digital stores for not adopting precautionary measures.
Adsuara claims protection measures for the user similar to those existing in the feed, “if one cannot buy a food in poor condition in a store, why are you allowed to download apps with malicious code?”, He asks in relation to the programs that can violate privacy. This expert recommends that the user assess whether it compensates “sell your soul” in exchange for a retouched photo.
Dani Creus, Kaspersky security analyst also warns of the risks of sharing photos with third parties: “We must assume that by uploading something to the cloud, we lose control,” he explains. This expert again affects what is, today, the best ally of the user on the Internet: “common sense”.
FaceApp cannot only alter the user’s image but also that of any person that he uploads to the cloud. And its realism can affect the image of that person.
Response from the creator of the application: Yaroslav Goncharov, creator of FaceApp, confirmed that the application plays the bulk of the work in the cloud and that “only the selected photo is uploaded” for editing. Goncharov said they are “overwhelmed” by the demand from users to remove the photos uploaded to their servers, a task that, for them “is a priority.”