New Privacy and Data Protection Concerns Emerge as the Popularity of AR/VR Applications Grows

by Eleftheria Kouri | 3Q 2019 | IN-5569
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) selfie app FaceApp, which allows users to edit their selfies and see themselves younger, older, or with different hair styles and facial features, was launched in 2017 by a Russian startup called Wireless Lab. Recently, the app captured users’ attention and became the top free app in Apple’s app store. However, a number of privacy concerns arose regarding users’ data and the company’s privacy policy, which mentions that the app can access a user’s location, IP address, and log file information for targeted advertisements. The app also stores selected and edited photos in the cloud rather than locally on the device. Another concern that came up, but ultimately faded away, was that the app leverages users’ photos to train facial algorithms, which is expected; FaceApp is not a unique example that needs to address privacy issues, but it is a good chance both for users and businesses to pay more attention and become better informed about the parties that handle their data and how that data is acquired, stored, and used. Outside of FaceApp, the growth of Augmented Reality (AR) consumer apps that leverage users’ locations or likenesses to enable virtual try on have also raised questions about users’ data protection.

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