Chuck Schumer Asks FBI To Look Into Russian-Based FaceApp Over National Security Concerns
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is asking the FBI to look into the Russian-owned FaceApp, a popular program that allows users to transform their faces into older or younger versions of themselves.
I'll be glad when people get tired of using FaceApp & posting photos of me as an ancient relic. The only one who has aged halfway decently in these pics is my #LemonHairedLuke action figure. #FaceAPPalling pic.twitter.com/kOJgOG44iA
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 18, 2019
In a letter to the FBI Director Christopher Wray and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simmons, Schumer said that so many users giving “full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data” to a Russian owned application may be a national security risk.
BIG: Share if you used #FaceApp:
Because millions of Americans have used it
It’s owned by a Russia-based company
And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data pic.twitter.com/cejLLwBQcr
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 18, 2019
“Given the growing popularity of FaceApp and these national security and privacy concerns, I ask that the FBI assess whether the personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government,” Schumer wrote. “If so, I would urge that steps be immediately taken by the FBI to mitigate the risk presented by the aggregation of this data.
“Furthermore, 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 and if not, that the public be made aware of the risks associated with the use of this application or others similar to it.”
Some national security strategists believe that the data and code from the app may be used to create highly accurate fake profile pictures that can then be used to create fake troll or bot accounts, similar to the ones Russian operatives used in the 2016 elections to spread fake news on Facebook.
On Wednesday FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov told the HuffPost that his company doesn’t “sell or share any user data with any third parties.” He added that none of the data collected by the foreign company is transferred back to Russia, “even though the core R&D team is located in Russia.”
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