Remember that fun aging app that showed what you would look like in fifty years? A few months ago it seems like everyone was posting pictures of their aged faces.
Now the FBI is issuing a warning about photos apps. This comes after Senator Chuck Schumer asked the agency if there was any threat posed by apps like FaceApp. The agency responded by saying there very well could be.
Their issue with FaceApp is that it was developed in Russia. The agency considers any app developed in Russia to be a potential counterintelligence threat because the Russian government has the ability to access any data from any company or servers that exist within its borders. Russian officials can access all networks in their country without having to get a warrant or notify the company.
When you use FaceApp or any photo app that changes your appearance, you upload your image to their servers and give them permission to manipulate it. FaceApp says it deletes most images from their servers after 48 hours, but there’s no real way to verify that.
For well-known faces, there’s always the possibility that images could be used to create fake compromising photos. But should cybercriminals get their hands on that information about your face, they might also use it to sneak around facial recognition software or use your face to create fake IDs. And since apps tend to collect a ton of information about your location and habits, criminals could find hundreds of ways to target you. Before you use any app that collects changes your face, think twice.