When using FaceApp, photos are uploaded to a server for processing before being sent back to the user. The company says that it uploads these photos to cloud servers in the United States, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, but does not transfer the data to Russia, where the company’s R&D team is based. There are also concerns about how the app’s terms of service does not specify how long the data could be kept. The company has previously claimed that it deletes photos from its servers within 48 hours of them being uploaded.
The FBI says that it will take action if it find that the face-editing app is involved in election interference efforts. A statement from the agency says, “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.”
Senator Schumer has been strongly focused on the potential security concerns posed by foreign-made apps heavily used by U.S. consumers. Schumer said during a Senate floor speech, “In light of the FBI’s warning, I strongly urge all Americans to consider deleting apps like FaceApp immediately and to proceed with extreme caution when downloading apps developed in foreign countries that are known adversaries. The personal data it collects from a user’s device could end up in the hands of Russian Intelligence Services. It’s simply not worth the risk.”