If You Used Faceapp To See What You’ll Look Like When You’re Old, Its Russian Developers May Own Your Photos Forever

Matt Lieb

If you’re one of the few who haven’t taken part in the #faceappchallenge, maybe keep it that way, because using the old people filter gives rights to its Russian developers to modify, reproduce, and publish any of the images processed through its AI from now until the end of time. Fun! While FaceApp’s terms of use don’t differ that much from other photo-filter competitors, FaceApp isn’t developed stateside like Instagram or Snapchat, but instead comes from Wireless Lab in St. Petersburg, Russia.

FaceApp’s terms of use are pretty clear, and state that by using their tech, you give FaceApp:

“…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.”

Particularly alarming is that bit about FaceApp being able to create “derivative works from” your images. While technically an old-person version of yourself could be considered a “derivative work,” this ability to use your user content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed seems like an awful lot of permission to grant for merely seeing how you might look as you age in years to come.

Speaking to Australian journalist Ben Fordham, Futurist and Business Technology expert Steve Sammartino warns “your face is now a form of copyright where you need to be really careful who you give permission to access your biometric data… if you start using that willy nilly, in the future when we’re using our face to access things like our money and credit cards, then what we’ve done is we’ve handed the keys to others.” According to Forbes, FaceApp nows owns access to over 150 million people’s faces and names.

Additionally, some Apple users worried about FaceApp’s ability to access your device’s photo library — despite permissions being set to “Never” — but according to Tech Crunch that feature is a normal part of Apple’s latest iOS 11 and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Still, if you feel uneasy about using FaceApp, maybe trust your instincts on this one. And if you’ve already used the app, well, they already own those images. Forever.

The rest of us will just have to find out how we’ll look years down the line the old fashioned way — by, you know, looking at our parents. How 20th century of us.