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Sen. Schumer Seeks Investigation Of FaceApp Over Security And Privacy Risks

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Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has demanded an investigation by FBI and FTC into FaceApp, which alters users' photos to make them look older or younger.

The federal agencies must look into the national security and privacy risks that the digital application poses because millions of Americans have used it, the veteran Democratic lawmaker said in a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons.

Schumer pointed out that in order to operate the application, users are required to provide FaceApp, owned by a Russian company Wireless Lab, full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data.

Schumer said it is "deeply troubling" that there is a risk of US citizens' personal data reaching the hands of a "hostile foreign power."

"I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it," he said in the letter.

FaceApp privacy policy clearly states that users grant it license to use or publish content shared with the application, including their username or even their real name, without notifying them or providing compensation.

FaceApp, the Artificial Intelligence-powered selfie-editing app, has been trending popular on social media over the last week, as it enables users to change their facial expressions, looks, and age for several years.

More than 100,000 million people have downloaded FaceApp from Google Play, according to Forbes.

It has reportedly become the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries.

St.Petersburg-based Wireless Lab responded to the privacy controversy. The company said it doesn't have access to any data that could identify a person, and that most images are deleted from its servers within 48 hours from the upload date.

"We don't sell or share any user data with any third parties," Wireless Lab said in a statement. It clarified that even though the company's core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to that country.

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