Why The FBI Warns Against Using FaceApp

What’s so bad about FaceApp? The FBI is warning Americans to delete FaceApp from their phones. FaceApp, a photo-editing app developed by a Russian company called Wireless Labs, is...

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

What’s so bad about FaceApp?

The FBI is warning Americans to delete FaceApp from their phones. FaceApp, a photo-editing app developed by a Russian company called Wireless Labs, is a potential national security threat and providing data for Russian Intelligence, the FBI says.

Russian developers might be using the technology to mine personal data from users’ phones, intelligence officials warned. Senator Chuck Schumer called for the FBI to investigate FaceApp earlier this year, and in response, the FBI sent a letter to Schumer this week warning the public about mobile applications developed in Russia.

“The FBI considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat, based on the data the product collects…And the legal mechanisms available to the Government of Russia that permits access to data within Russia’s borders,” the letter said.

Senator Schumer agreed that FaceApp poses “national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens.”

FaceApp went viral on social media this year when it offered features that can make a person look older or younger. It also offered a “gender swap” option, where users could see what they look like as the opposite sex.

The FBI hasn’t stated exactly what kind of data Russia might be looking for on American users’ phones. Still, they said U.S. consumers should avoid any mobile app developed in Russia.

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