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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) believes that any mobile app developed in Russia, such as the formerly viral app FaceApp, could be a “potential counterintelligence threat.”
The FBI made the statement in a letter dated Nov. 25 sent to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who published it on Monday. Schumer had called on the FBI and FTC to investigate the app, which is run by a company based in Russia, earlier this year amid privacy concerns and the “FaceApp Challenge” going viral.
In the letter, the FBI says it believes that any app such as FaceApp could be a risk because of the Russian government’s ability to “remotely access all communications and servers on Russian networks without making a request to ISPs.”
The FBI continued:
“If the FBI assesses that elected officials, candidates, political campaigns, or political parties are targets of foreign influence operations involving FaceApp, the FBI would coordinate notifications, investigate, and engage the Foreign Influence Task Force, as appropriate.”
Schumer shared the letter on Twitter on Monday.
“A warning to share with your family & friends: This year when millions were downloading #FaceApp, I asked the FBI if the app was safe. Well, the FBI just responded,” Schumer tweeted on Monday afternoon. “And they told me any app or product developed in Russia like FaceApp is a potential counterintelligence threat.”
A warning to share with your family & friends:— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 2, 2019
This year when millions were downloading #FaceApp, I asked the FBI if the app was safe.
Well, the FBI just responded.
And they told me any app or product developed in Russia like FaceApp is a potential counterintelligence threat. pic.twitter.com/ioMzpp2Xi5
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).