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The Telegraph: Why you should think twice before using viral AI photo editor FaceApp


Natasha Bernal 17 July 2019

Have you ever wondered what you will look like in 40 years' time? Thanks to an incredibly popular Russian artificial intelligence app, you can now share your a photo of your face to find out.



Thousands of people are flocking to use FaceApp, a smartphone app that can make them look older as part of an "age challenge" on social media, boosting it to the top of the Apple Store this week.

But FaceApp isn't new. The technology, created by Russian company Wireless Lab, first launched in 2017 and sparked outrage for offering people the chance to alter their images and look like they are a different race.

Now it has hit the headlines again because of how realistic the technology has become. It uses neural networks - artificial intelligence modelled after the human brain that can learn from patterns - to map people's faces and generate incredibly realistic images of what they will look like in the distant future.

But just because the app makes people look older, it clearly doesn't make them wiser. The sudden surge of popularity of the app raises concerns about people's privacy - and what this AI could do with an immense archive of people's faces.

One click, and you've handed the app the right to use your face

FaceApp allows you to upload an image of yourself or someone else with the click of a button, and automatically edits it to make a face look much older.

Similar to some of Snapchat's most popular image filters, this app can also alter your pictures to look like you are wearing sunglasses, have different hair colour, or are a different genders.

But when you use the app it is not just mapping your face; it is also sending it to the cloud, where it can be stored for an indefinite period of time.

Unlike other apps, the scanning of your photo does not happen on the smartphone but on the cloud, and the company can save a copy of a photo uploaded through the app even if you delete it from your phone.

In fact, one glance at the terms and conditions of FaceApp shows that you are giving the app a "perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license" to use and reproduce your image in all media formats "without compensation to you".

This means that you've sold your face for free and granted FaceApp access to your photo.

"If someone wants to collect personal information for nefarious purposes, one of the easiest ways to do it is to entice people to input the data for what appears to be some 'fun' purpose," says Alan Woodward, privacy expert at the University of Surrey.

"In this case you have no idea where it is being sent or who has access or what it may be used for, now or in the future.

"If you’re not a paying customer, then you will become the product. There's no such thing as a free lunch."

The app could be in 'serious breach' of data protection rules

Experts have already raised serious concerns over whether this app might be in breach of consumer's privacy.

Jonathan Kewley, partner and co-head of technology at law firm Clifford Chance, says that this app could be in serious breach of the European Union's data protection regulation, the GDPR, because it is not clear about how it is using people's data and how long it plans to keep it.

"It's a service directed to European data subjects. Even though it is marketed by a Russian company, it's clearly within the remit of GDPR. They need to have express consent," he argues.

"People think it's fun. But Cambridge Analytica was displayed as a game, and that didn't turn out to be fun."

What you need to know about the privacy row engulfing Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Very little is known about Wireless Lab, the company that produced FaceApp, as it does not seem to have its own website or information about financial backers aside from its founder, Yaroslav Goncharov, a former technical lead at Microsoft and head of mobile platform at Russian search engine Yandex.

His app's terms and conditions may be available online on the FaceApp website, but those looking to download it straight from the Apple Store are not prompted to accept its terms and conditions before using it, which means that many people could have not provided informed consent.

The Information Commissioner's Office has not yet said whether it will step in to investigate this app, but stated that companies "must provide individuals with information including: purposes for processing their personal data, retention periods for that personal data, and who it will be shared with".

Your face could be gone forever

"It is not clear how FaceApp stores, uses, or manipulates peoples' data, including the detailed biometric maps of their faces, and this could change over time as profit incentives and technologies change," Jade Chong-Smith, legal officer at Privacy International explains. "Even if you delete FaceApp, there is nothing in the terms that governs what the company will do with all the data they have collected about you.

"While people may think that providing their photos and data is a small price to pay for the entertainment FaceApp offers, the app raises concerns about privacy, manipulation, and data exploitation—although these concerns are not necessarily unique to FaceApp."

Privacy International has warned that mass collection of faces is a "highly-prized commodity" for governments and tech companies, used to train algorithms and for facial recognition-enabled mass surveillance.

FaceApp did not respond to requests to comment.
#FaceApp #security #privacy #WirelessLab #Russia #photo #editor #programm #leak #personal #data #news

 
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Hainschwebfliegen an Hundsrose / Marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) at dog rose


am Schwafheimer Meer, einem Naturschutzgebiet an der Stadtgrenze zwischen Rumeln (Duisburg) und Schwafheim (Moers), Juli 2019

Fotoalbum

#Hainschwebfliege #Niederrhein #SchwafheimerMeer #Insekten #foto #photo #fotografie #photography
#animals #protostome #arthropod #insects #pterygota #neoptera #flies #hoverflies #marmaladehoverfly

 
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Schnake auf weißen Blüten / Crane fly at white blossoms

am Schwafheimer Meer, einem Naturschutzgebiet an der Stadtgrenze zwischen Rumeln (Duisburg) und Schwafheim (Moers), Juli 2019




#Schnaken #Niederrhein #SchwafheimerMeer #Insekten #foto #photo #fotografie #photography
#animals #protostome #arthropod #insects #pterygota #neoptera #craneflies

 
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Chefchaouen, a Moroccan mountain town known as the “Blue Pearl”


by Tiago & Tania (Tiago Marques and Tania De Pascalis)
#photo #Chefchaouen #Morocco #architecture #blue #BluePearl #TiagoMarques #TaniaDePascalis #cat waiting for #caturday

 
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#foto #photo #fotofia #photography #bird #mywork #patagonia
caminera colorada (Geositta rufipennis), los pajareros estan en duda, puede ser Dormilona Ceja Blanca (Muscisaxicola albilora)

 
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#foto #photo #fotofia #photography #bird #mywork #patagonia
caminera colorada (Geositta rufipennis), los pajareros estan en duda, puede ser Dormilona Ceja Blanca (Muscisaxicola albilora)

 
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Hainschwebfliegen an Hundsrose / Marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) at dog rose


am Schwafheimer Meer, einem Naturschutzgebiet an der Stadtgrenze zwischen Rumeln (Duisburg) und Schwafheim (Moers), Juli 2019

Fotoalbum

#Hainschwebfliege #Niederrhein #SchwafheimerMeer #Insekten #foto #photo #fotografie #photography
#animals #protostome #arthropod #insects #pterygota #neoptera #flies #hoverflies #marmaladehoverfly

 
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Netz einer Trichterspinne / Web of an Agelenidae


am Schwafheimer Meer, einem Naturschutzgebiet an der Stadtgrenze zwischen Rumeln (Duisburg) und Schwafheim (Moers), Juli 2019

Fotoalbum

#Spinnentiere #Niederrhein #SchwafheimerMeer #Spinnen #foto #photo #fotografie #photography
#animals #protostome #arthropod #arachnid

 
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Toter Baum / Dead Tree


am Schwafheimer Meer, einem Naturschutzgebiet an der Stadtgrenze zwischen Rumeln (Duisburg) und Schwafheim (Moers), Juli 2019

Fotoalbum

#Pflanzen #Totholz #Niederrhein #SchwafheimerMeer #foto #photo #fotografie #photography
#nature #plants #trees #deadwood

 
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#foto #photo #mywork #Insekten #Schmetterlinge #Natur #Sommer auf der #Magerwiese … ein Kleiner #Sonnenröschen-Bläuling.
http://www.schmetterling-raupe.de/art/agestis_s
Insgesamt ist der NRW-Status des #Kleinen-Sonnenröschen-Bläuling RL 2 = "stark gefährdet"
#Großer-Sonnenröschen-Bläuling (Aricia artaxerxes): sehr ähnlich! Orangene Flecken auf den Vorderflügel-Oberseiten meist deutlich reduziert; fliegt bis auf 2200 m Höhe; nur eine Generation pro Jahr; die Art kommt in NRW nicht vor!

 
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Oculus - World Trade Center Transportation Hub

#gplusarchive #repost #bot #googleplus #photo #photography #myphoto #US #UnitedStates #NYC

Originally posted on Google+ on Sun Jul 15, 2018

 
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West & Bank - Site of the former Bell Telephone Laboratories

#gplusarchive #repost #bot #googleplus #photo #photography #myphoto #US #UnitedStates #NYC

Originally posted on Google+ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 (Alte Städte / Old Towns)

 
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NYC fire escapes

#gplusarchive #repost #bot #googleplus #photo #photography #myphoto #US #UnitedStates #NYC

Originally posted on Google+ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 (Alte Städte / Old Towns)

 
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#дача #photo #flowers #cats #garden

Some more lilies, lavender and kittens again.

 
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NYC architecture is generally getting bolder in the last few years.

#gplusarchive #repost #bot #googleplus #photo #photography #myphoto #US #UnitedStates #NYC

Originally posted on Google+ on Sun Jul 15, 2018

 
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Skyscraper generations

#gplusarchive #repost #bot #googleplus #photo #photography #myphoto #US #UnitedStates #NYC

Originally posted on Google+ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 (Alte Städte / Old Towns)

 
The reflections were nice this morning, but the light was harsh, hazy and reflecting everywhere. Anyway, here's a couple.

#photography #photo
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