FaceApp is having a viral moment, thanks to its old age filter that allows people to run their photos through the free app to see what they may look like 40 years in the future.
"Putting aside for a moment the fact that no one has time to read every policy they come across, it's incredibly difficult to discern what the real risks are from this convoluted mess," says Lindsey Barrett, a teaching fellow and staff attorney at Georgetown Law’s Communications and Technology Clinic.
In a statement to Fortune, FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov confirmed the company processes photos on the cloud, but says "most" are deleted within 48 hours. He says the company uses AWS and Google Cloud.
The app's team is based in Russia, however the company says none of the data it processes its transferred to the country.
Privacy-conscious users do have some recourse. Goncharov says his support team is "overloaded," but is making it a priority to accept requests from users who want their data scrubbed from its servers. This can be done by going to settings, support, and choosing "report a bug." Users should type the word "privacy" in the subject line to send their request.
FaceApp isn't a stranger to the spotlight. The company previously went viral with its gender-bending filter, and in another case, was forced to apologize after it created filters to make people look like they were a different ethnicity.
While the free old face app is clearly once again tickling the funny bone for millions of people around the world, Barrett says it speaks to the larger problem of privacy policies that are littered with legal jargon, conditional words, and the statement that companies reserve the right to change their policies at any time.
"We don't talk about people making trade-offs when it comes to other areas of consumer protection—where we know people aren't adequately equipped to make informed decisions—and we should stop doing it when it comes to privacy," she says.
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