Home World News U.S. Senator asks FBI to investigate Russia’s FaceApp over Security Concerns

U.S. Senator asks FBI to investigate Russia’s FaceApp over Security Concerns

U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called on the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp, a face-editing photo app developed in Russia, in a letter sent on Wednesday.

The viral smartphone application, which has seen a new surge of popularity due to a filter that ages photos of users’ faces, requires “full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data,” which could pose “national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens,” Schumer said in his letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FTC Chairman Joe Simons.

The Democratic National Committee also sent out an alert to the party’s 2020 presidential candidates on Wednesday warning them against using the app, pointing to its Russian provenance. In the email, first reported by CNN, DNC security chief Bob Lord also urged Democratic presidential campaigns to delete the app immediately if they or their staff had already used it. There is no evidence that FaceApp provides user data to the Russian government.

Democrats have invested heavily in bolstering party cyber defenses after U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia used hacking as part of an effort to boost support for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Russia has repeatedly denied those claims.

FaceApp, which was developed by Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, says on its website that it has over 80 million active users. Its CEO, Yaroslav Goncharov, used to be an executive at Yandex, widely known as “Russia‘s Google.” The app, which was launched in 2017, made headlines in 2018 when it removed its ‘ethnicity filters’ after users condemned them as racist.

More recently, it has faced scrutiny from the public over issues such as not clearly communicating that the app uploads images to the cloud rather than processing them locally on a user’s device.

Chuck Schumer

It is not clear how the artificial intelligence application retains the data of users or how users may ensure the deletion of their data after usage, Schumer said in the letter.

Schumer said the photo editing app’s location in Russia raises questions about how FaceApp lets third parties, including foreign governments, have access to the data of American citizens.

In a statement cited by media outlets, FaceApp has denied selling or sharing user data with third parties.

“99% of users don’t log in; therefore, we don’t have access to any data that could identify a person,” the company said in a statement cited by TechCrunch, adding that most images are deleted from its servers within 48 hours of the upload date.

While the company’s research and development team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia, according to the statement.

You might also like…Uganda to issue birth certificates for cattle

An audit team from the European Union will arrive in Uganda in September to that all farmers producing commodities destined for Europe are registered. The Ugandan government has announced plans to register all farmers and their cattle, including issuing “birth certificates” for the animals, so it can trace their products.

birth certificates for cattle

The East African reported that Vincent Ssempijja, the minister for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries said the procedure was necessary as the international market demanded that all countries producing food for the European market needed to provide proof so that the food could be traced, the East African reported…Read more here

Source: BBC

Loading...

Are You Looking for a NEW JOB?

Are you looking for a job or maybe you are already working but want a new job? We have you covered on our Jobs Listings website. We post only genuine jobs and you can apply for free. See All Jobs Here