IF YOU SPENT any time whitling away your summer showing people what you will look like, you could have been a security risk.
That's the revelation at the heart of advice received by the US government about Russia-based face-distorting app FaceApp.
Comments from the FBI in a letter to US Senator Chuck Schumer seem to point to at least some of those concerns being justified.
The agency explains in the letter that it "considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat". That's not even vaguely nuanced, is it? Basically, beware of the FaceApp.
FaceApp, in its defence, says that it doesn't store photos, or indeed any unnecessary data at all. Indeed, the St Petersburg-based developer, Wireless Lab, says it only uploads the photos it needs to edit, then ditches them.
It also says that no data is transferred to Russian servers, which is a big deal considering the country's recent attempts to cut itself off from the rest of the interweb.
The report came as a result of a request from Senator Schumer to investigate the app after it became clear that there was a risk of people having some actual fun with it. He claims that it could pose a risk to national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens".
He probably just didn't like the way his pictures turned out.
"I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it," he said at the time of the investigation request.
Some of the biggest websites in the world are based in countries considered hostile to Western governments. As well as FaceApp, the crosshairs of the security community are also aimed squarely at Chinese social network TikTok, which has exploded in recent years leading to questions over whether there are any of those legendary back doors we love so much. μ
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