FBI Slams Viral App FaceApp, Calls It 'counterintelligence Threat' From Russia


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has responded with the results of its investigation into the Made in Russia app FaceApp. FBI's full letter here.

Written By Tech Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:

Do you remember the controversial photo-editing app FaceApp that became a viral sensation a few months ago by making people virtually look older? Months after privacy-related concerns were raised that FaceApp stores users' photos on its cloud server, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has responded with the results of its investigation into the Made in Russia app.

In July, a top US Senator Chuck Schumer had called for the FBI to probe into FaceApp. Schumer had said in his letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that he is concerned FaceApp could pose "national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens." Schumer is asking law enforcement agencies in the country to assess the situation.

FBI's response to FaceApp investigation

The FBI has finally responded to Schumer's letter saying that FaceApp is a "potential counterintelligence threat."

Schumer has shared the copy of the FBI's letter in response to his query on Twitter:

"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. And they told me any app or product developed in Russia like FaceApp is a potential counterintelligence threat," Schumer said.

READ | FaceApp founder clears air on every single privacy policy concern about the app, but is that enough?

Although there is no evidence that FaceApp sends users data to Russia, the FBI said that Russia's ability to access communications directly via internet service providers makes any app built there risky.

"The FBI considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat, based on the data the product collects, its privacy and terms of use policies, and the legal mechanisms available to the Government of Russia that permit access to data within Russia's borders," the FBI said in the letter.

"Russia's intelligence services maintain robust cyber exploitation capabilities as evidenced by, for example, Russia's surveillance system, the System of Operative Search Measures, which allows the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to obtain telephonic and online communications via direct connection to internet service providers (ISP)," it added.

FaceApp is an AI-enabled photo-editing app that allows users to edit their photos in such a way that they virtually look older.

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