In this digital age, we have jumped into the latest trends without thinking of the consequences. We have been unable to draw the lines when it comes to our personal data, which experts have warned, might be a big problem.

If you’ve been on Facebook, Twitter or pretty much any other social platform in the last few days, you might have noticed images of old people flooding your timeline. It is called FaceApp, and it is the latest internet craze to hit the social media streets.

FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. It can be used to make users appear older, younger, change gender and even make a grouchy face smile. But privacy woes or not, the app certainly has attracted a lot of users including celebrities across the world.

Experts are zeroing in on the terms and conditions which include this statement: “You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.”

FaceApp’s privacy policy also makes it clear that the app pulls data like your location, IP address and log file information for the purpose of aiming targeted ads at you. With data like that, advertisers target advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you. But what users are finding even worrying is the fact that the data collected might be sent to Russia.

Some of these concerns were addressed by FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov who clarified the app’s privacy policies and said no data is transferred to Russia.  “We never transfer any other images,” said the statement.

He also added that while FaceApp accepts requests from users to have their data deleted, the company’s support team was currently “overloaded”. FaceApp advises users to submit such requests through settings, support, “report a bug” and add “privacy” in the subject line.

FaceApp is not new. It first hit the headlines in 2017 with its “ethnicity filters”. These purported to transform faces of one ethnicity into another – a feature that sparked a backlash.

At a time when we are fighting for a data protection framework, we should be bothered to read terms and conditions, and, privacy and sharing settings on every app you download. Otherwise, we deserve criticism too for being so careless with our data.

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