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Schumer calls for FBI to investigate FaceApp

July 18, 2019

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for an investigation into the Russian app FaceApp for potential national security and privacy risks it poses to the United States.

Schumer is concerned that Russian meddling could occur in the 2020 election and that the app could be used as part of a counterintelligence campaign against the U.S.

“As FBI Director Wray himself pointed out earlier this year, Russia remains a significant counterintelligence threat,” the letter read. “It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States.”

The app has faced scrutiny in recent days for murky its murky legalese which could put users’ privacy and security at risk. Users of the app must provide full access to personal photos and data on their phone. The app’s privacy policy states that users grant FaceApp license to use or publish any content shared through their app without notifying the users or compensating them. The policy does not state how long the app stores the user’s data.

According to Schumer, FaceApp’s policy can be “misleading” to consumers and “may even constitute a deceptive trade practice.” Schumer wants the FBI to assess whether the information gathered by the app could be used by Russian intelligence or associates of the Kremlin for nefarious activities.

“In the age of facial recognition technology as both a surveillance and security use, it is essential that users have the information they need to ensure their personal biometric data remains secure, including from hostile foreign nations,” Schumer wrote.

Recently, Democratic National Convention officials warned candidates not to use to app over similar concerns of security and privacy risks.

– MK. II

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