Tag Archive privacy


Face app

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It seems the online world is embroiled in some sort of controversy or the other giving me plenty to write about!! πŸ˜‰ Jokes aside – have you downloaded and used the currently viral ‘Face app’?   If you have or have not yet done so, read on…

What is ‘Face app’?

‘Face app’ – the AI , face editor is a freely downloadable app for both Android and iOS platforms and is owned by a Russian company Wireless Labs. It is available both on Google Play and Apple App store. I downloaded it and it was really fun to try the different looks(with a smile, without a smile, with makeup, without makeup) and the younger version and older version of oneself are phenomenal too…For a moment, I threw all my security caution to the wind and dissolved into it and enjoyed it!! πŸ™‚ But, not for long… 

The ‘Face app’ asks for your permission to access the pictures from your ‘Gallery’ and no sooner, do you give it the permission – it takes your ‘face’ from a picture and performs a lot of magic to it. It definitely keeps you enthralled and even has options to use your pictures from social media platforms such as ‘Facebook’.

What is all the noise about ‘Face app’ now?

On the face of it, ‘Face app’ seems to be another app for everyone to have a bit of fun online, but there is more to what meets the eye. Your pictures are all uploaded to the cloud which itself is unnerving from a privacy standpoint. Along with this, there is another problem that has been reported widely which is in the ‘Terms and conditions’ of the viral app. The ‘Terms and conditions’ state this:

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you..”

While you own your “face” content, you are giving the app exclusive rights for your “face” content to be stored perpetually and be used for other derivative works and display it anywhere!! (yikes) I cannot imagine my face being stored on some strange servers in some part of the world and being used for strange purposes!! 

This is the part of the ‘Faceapp’ that is deeply troubling for all users of the Internet community today.

What is being done then?

  1. US Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer has called on the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to look into the privacy issues with ‘Faceapp'(Source: economictimes.com)
  2. In the wake of privacy concerns, the CEO of Faceapp has stated that most of the pictures are deleted within 48 hours(Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/17/faceapp-responds-to-privacy-concerns/)
  3. User data is definitely not transferred to Russia
  4. Users can requests their data to be deleted
  5. Only the selected picture is uploaded and not all the pictures from the ‘Gallery’ are uploaded

The net result of heavy outburst on social media unfortunately or fortunately, the downloads for ‘Faceapp’ have supposedly increased by 500% in the last six days(Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2019/07/18/controversy-good-for-business-faceapp-downloads-jumped-561/#759ad9c3577c)

My take on the whole Faceapp drama:

While privacy issues constantly rake the online world, this is probably one of the few times that even non-serious security individuals have woken up to security and privacy thoughts. While our entire online data(conversations, payments, locations, group pictures, events, gatherings) is always moving silently behind the computer screen, a picture of a “face” moving around has really shaken everybody up( A picture is definitely worth a thousand words πŸ™‚ !! ) More people are questioning the privacy behind the fun which is definitely a good thing.

We will see how the ‘Faceapp’ drama unfolds further but for now it is good to see ‘Faceapp’ has definitely woken up the sleeping privacy giant in all of us!!




Is “Privacy” a myth?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Privacy”, what? might be a common reaction for some of us. For me, of late, I have been getting more and more passionate about privacy issues. What is “privacy” anyways? Is it a total myth in this digital age? Most of my digital life is spent in wondering who has stolen my private information, or who “else” has seen my online pictures and who “else” is listening to me…if you are like me – you are a true “privacy” warrior like me! πŸ™‚

Almost all of our information is stored online in some server in a strange country(or in your very own background!! :)) Safeguarding this personal information and ensuring that this information is not “sold” to other third parties is one way of ensuring “privacy”. Anything that is yours and yours alone and which is spied upon or stolen cunningly is loss of privacy. 

The places you visited, your birthdays, the pictures you take, the milestones achieved(and shared), the places that you have been to, the credit card numbers that are stored for ease of transactions –  we give all this information voluntarily and unknowingly to some online giant. This information – if it stays with the same organization – it is “private”. But more often than not, “your” information gets sold and you have no clue about it.

The EU GDPR(General Data Protection Regulation) that came into effect last year was the strongest data privacy regulation in 20 years. It broadly seeks to protect user data and make all organizations create transparent data policies. Selling user data is not the only invasion of privacy – there are other ways that privacy of users can be lost too.


Digital assistants or personal assistants(like Siri, Cortana, Amazon Echo) may be more ubiquitous in the West than in India. Personal assistants are supposed to make our life simpler – they can call anybody, order pizza, turn on the lights and more. But according to a report published a week back, did you know that “Alexa” was listening to your conversations all along? If you forgot to “turn off” your Alexa, it could eavesdrop on all your personal conversations. According to this report, voice snippets are  analyzed by Amazon employees for better customer experience.  

So, if you feel your privacy has been lost with the Amazon Echo devices, it would be good to go to ‘Settings’ in the ‘Alexa’ app – and disable “the use of voice recordings for the development of new features’. Similarly, it would be good to review all ‘privacy” features in all digital devices and set it to stringent levels. 

With all the privacy hacks on various digital platforms – I hardly feel like sharing anything online except for meeting everybody in person! πŸ™‚

This post is for alphabet ‘P’ of the #Blogchatter challenge. The previous post can be found here.