Tag: Privacy

FaceApp reacts to privacy concerns

22. July 2019

The picture editing app FaceApp, which became increasingly popular on social media, was confronted with various concerns about their privacy.

Created in Russia by a four-person start-up company, the app applies a newly developed technology that uses neural networks to modify a face in any photo while remaining photorealistic. In this process, no filters are placed on the photo, but the image itself is modified with the help of deep learning technology.

However, the app is accused of not explaining that the images are uploaded to a cloud for editing. In addition, the app is accused of uploading not only the image selected by the user, but also the entire camera roll in the background. The latter in particular raises high security concerns due to the large number of screenshots that people nowadays take of sensitive information such as access data or bank details.

While there is no evidence for the latter accusation and FaceApp emphasizes in its statement that no image other than the one chosen by the user is uploaded, they confirm the upload into a cloud.

The upload to the cloud justifies FaceApp with reasons of performance and traffic. With this, the app developers want to ensure that the user does not upload the photo repeatedly during each editing process.

Finally, FaceApp declares that no user data will be sold or passed on to third parties. Also, in 99 % of cases, they are unable to identify a person because the app can be and actually is used without registration by a large number of users.

San Francisco took a stand against use of facial recognition technology

15. May 2019

San Francisco is the first major city in the US that has banned the use of facial recognition software by the authorities. The Board of Supervisors decided at 14th May that the risk of violating civil rights by using such technology far outweighs the claimed benefits. According to the current vote, the municipal police and other municipal authorities may not acquire, hold or use any facial recognition technology in the future.

The proposal is due to the fact that using facial recognition software threatens to increase racial injustice and “the ability to live free from constant monitoring by the government”. Civil rights advocates and researchers warn that the technology could easily be misused to monitor immigrants, unjustly target African-Americans or low-income neighborhoods, in case governmental oversight fails.

It sent a particularly strong message to the nation, coming from a city transformed by tech, Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill said. However, the ban is part of broader legislation aiming to restrict the use of surveillance technologies. However, airports, ports or other facilities operated by the federal authorities as well as businesses and private users are explicitly excluded from the ban.

Instagram developes additional privacy features

9. December 2016

On Tuesday, Instagram announced the launching of some features for its users to help maintain privacy.

Some time ago, Instagram already included a feature to filter comments by introducing keywords. Now, it has also introduced the feature to turn off comments in any post if the user wishes to do so. Furthermore, a new feature to like posts will be added in order to maintain a positive environment.

Another important feature consists of the possibility to remove followers from private accounts. At the time, users that have a private account are able to choose the followers they want to accept. However, once a follower was accepted there was no way to remove it. This feature will make possible to remove followers and the removed followers will not be notified about it.

Finally, a reporting tool will be available for all users. This tool can be used in cases where a user suspects that another user will injure him/herself based on the published posts. This reporting tool can be used anonymously and aims at offering support and help and connect the reported persons with specialized organizations.

Instagram’s CEO announced ongoing changes in order to achieve a safe use of Instagram.

Category: General · Instagram
Tags: ,