On a daily basis, we are introduced to new internet trends, and they are pretty much never ending. One of the most recent trends has now come under fire, and there are some pretty good points brought up by the app’s accusers.
If you use Facebook, then you have likely seen the recent picture trend, where people are taking their photos and their friend’s photos and turning them into intricate renditions that appear as though they are painted. Personally, they began filling my feed late last night and haven’t stopped since. But much like the FaceApp debacle a few years ago, users are saying that this most recent trend has been associated with hacking.
The app creates renditions of photos by using your selfies and the help of artificial intelligence to replicate your photos into paintings. However, what has caused the most controversy is where the company is located: Moscow.
The company that created the app is known as Linerock Investments, which is a company the Daily Mail asserts is based out of an apartment complex located near the Moscow River. Even stranger is how close their building is to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
Jake Moore, a Global Cybersecurity Advisor, who works at ESET Internet Security explained to the Daily Mail that people should be wary of uploading their data to new apps and websites, without understanding that most of these companies have a motive. In many cases, it’s likely ad revenue, but in far more nefarious cases, you could be data mined.
Similar scams work diligently all day, every day on Facebook to get people to click on links for job offers, to purchase pets, and to cash in on a ‘reward.’ However, when you click the link, whoever is on the other end gets your IP address, which can lead them to far more personal information about you.
According to Moore, “This app is likely a way of capturing people’s faces in high resolution and I would question any app wanting this amount of data, especially one which is largely unheard of and based in another country.”
While Linerock Investments has a shareholder in Panama City, its director is located in Russia. Back in 2017, FaceApp, an app that used similar technology to instantly age photographs, was used to mine data to send to Russia.
The New Profile Pic app that has been used to create the most recent photos boasts, “The world around us is fast-paced and always evolving. In this ever-changing world, why stick to one profile pic on your social media? Let it be different, always new, and… made by AI!
The NewProfilePic app lets you change your user image style as often as you want. Dare to be different, with a profile pic that reflects your current mood or state of mind. Impress your friends on social media and keep them interested in what’s coming next! ”
To download the app, you provide the app developer with your location and other personal data located on your device. The company’s data policy says it by saying, “We collect certain personal information that you voluntarily provide to us.”
Continuing, “We collect your name, email address, user name, social network information, and other information you provide when you register.”