What seemed like just harmless fun might actually be a huge security risk. Over the past two days, Twitter and Instagram timelines looked like a “retirement home” thanks to FaceApp, which takes a photo and ages it using its impressive face altering technology. After it was learned that app is Russia-based, Democratic Senator, Chuck Schumer is calling for an investigation.
It’s perfectly understandable why granting anything Russian-based access to private information raises red flags in the United States. This is the same country that successfully hacked our electoral system paving the way for the orange menace in the White House. Chuck Schumer announced on Twitter that he is calling for an investigation on a federal level into the company that owns the app. He is claiming there are potential national security and privacy risks to millions of Americans.
In a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission, Schumer states:
“It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States.”
“I ask that the FTC consider whether there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent the privacy of Americans using this application, including government personnel and military service members, from being compromised.”
While there is no evidence at this time of foul play going on, there is definitely some cause for concern. This is a moment for app users to read the acknowledgment and privacy forms thoroughly before they press accept and grant it access to their phones. Before learning of the apps Russian ties, it was already downloaded and used by celebrities like Drake, LeBron James, and more.
It was at the top of Apple and Google’s download charts by Wednesday. We are interested to see what surfaces if the investigation is carried out.