Popular Russia – based application FaceApp , which allows users to change their appearance to look older or younger , came under fire in the United States Wednesday , with one senator urging an FBI investigation .
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the FBI and the FTC, the US consumer protection body, to “ look into the national security & privacy risks ” connected to FaceApp , which is used by millions of Americans but was developed by a Saint Petersburg- based company .
“ FaceApp ’ s location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of U. S. citizens to third parties , including potentially foreign governments, ” the New York senator said in a letter to the FBI .
“ It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of US citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States , ” he added .
Schumer is not the only Democrat who is worried. According to the Washington Post, the party ’ s National Committee has warned campaigners in the primaries ahead of the 2020 presidential election to “ delete the app immediately. ”
The party is particularly sensitive to any possibility of surveillance involving Moscow after some Democratic officials were targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election campaign .
FaceApp representatives have not responded to Schumer’ s letter but the company ’ s CEO told the Washington Post that the app did not use the photos for any other purpose .
Yaroslav Goncharov told the newspaper most photos are deleted from its servers within 48 hours and said Russian authorities did not have any access to user data .
FaceApp , which was launched by Russian publisher Wireless Lab in 2017 , uses artificial intelligence to modify users ’ photos, changing their hair colour , adding wrinkles or subtracting years from their faces.
It is currently the most downloaded free application on Google Play , with more than 100 million users after its new ageing filter attracted interest from celebrities including music superstar Drake and NBA champion Steph Curry .
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