Schumer calls on FBI, FTC to investigate FaceApp

Viral app raises privacy concerns.

Jul 18, 2019, 12:41 pm

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Andrew Wyrich 

Andrew Wyrich

Chuck Schumer FaceApp

AFGE/Flickr (CC-BY)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate FaceApp, the photo-editing app that has become popular again recently.

Privacy concerns recently popped up surrounding FaceApp, which recently went viral with the “FaceApp Challenge,” after it was discovered the company behind it is based in Russia.

CNN reports that that Democratic National Committee sent a warning out to the 2020 presidential campaigns about FaceApp on Wednesday.

“It’s not clear at this point what the privacy risks are, but what is clear is that the benefits of avoiding the app outweigh the risks,” Bob Lord, the DNC’s chief security officer, wrote in the letter, according to the news outlet.

The company told TechCrunch on Wednesday that while “the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia.”

Schumer on Wednesday wrote a letter to FBI Director Christoper Wray and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons about his concerns with the app.

“In particular, 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,” he wrote in the letter, adding: “It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States.”

Schumer asked the FBI to look into whether the information uploaded onto FaceApp “may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government, or entities with ties to the Russian government.” He also asked the FTC to see if there were “adequate safeguards” to prevent the information from “being compromised.”

Some concerns about the massive collection of photos from users of the app have been addressed by the company and security researchers, who believe those claims to be unfounded.

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