So like many other photo editing apps, the FaceApp uses AI to touch up your face, so nothing special here. Moreover, the app exists since 2017 but has never been this popular. In fact, it got popular after adding a new feature that allows users to see what they might look like when they get older.
But here's something to be concerned with: According to some reports, the app has gathered more than 150 million photos of people’s faces since its launch day. Per usual people skip the part when they are supposed to read the terms of service, which in this case indicates that the company has full control over how it uses your photos. However, the company has already stated that it deletes most images from its servers within two days of upload, and doesn’t share data to third parties.
Because the majority of users is worried their faces are going to be used to track them in the future, let’s see if it’s actually an option.
Well, so imagine this app did decide to use the photos they’ve gathered. What could they do? Let’s be real; nowadays, it’s impossible to train algorithms for identifying people’s faces from a single photo, without any additional personal information, which in fact, the app never asks from the users.
However, we don’t say there is no way or place to use a huge database of faces; hence, these are some of the ways your face might be used.
Face Modification: The most obvious and reasonable way to use the database would be to improve their algorithms. Because the ability to tweak and change the image of a face is based on a neural network, it would definitely make sense for the company to use them for their benefit.
Face detection: Face detection identifies whether there’s a face in a photo and where it is. If you have used the app, you have probably noticed that sometimes it fails to recognize a face. It is one of the things that could be improved with more face photos.
And last but not least such database could be used to create faces of people who don’t exist.
So should you be worried? Undoubtedly, these use cases raise notable privacy concerns. But then again this isn’t the only open-source database of face photos since nowadays such photos can be found by simply googling people’s names or other personal info that’s up on their social networks.
Perhaps we all should stop for a minute and realize how much we’ve already lost control over our digital data.