You might remember the most recent facial recognition software controversy that revolved around the viral app known as FaceApp. The photo editing program was a huge hit back in July, and since its launch, more than 150 million photographs have been accrued. The primary function of the app was to retouch pics of people’s faces use GAN software.
Chinese ZAO app
While the Chinese owned ZAO app probably gathered that many, if not more, photos, the truth is, it shows just how quickly and easily your personal information can be compromised. Many apps have been investigated by concerned users, with clauses showing a no-permission-necessary clause, such as what was found in ZAO’s terms of service recently. These clauses state that they have the right to circulate, trade, or sell user information, data, and photographs, without first gathering the necessary permissions to do so. It leaves us to wonder, how many other apps have similar clauses, but simply haven’t been found out yet?
Momo’s ZAO app went viral immediately after release. Allowing users to simply take or upload a facial photo, their image was then superimposed into major movie clips, allowing them to appear to be movie stars. In less than two days, it was THE most downloaded app in the Apple Store in China.
While the AI (Artificial Intelligence) tech used to create the clips is certainly impressive, it is simply the use of GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks), creating the algorithm for deepfake technology. Many Hollywood productions make use of GANs for their movies, but ZAO only needs one pic. What you get is a revelation of just exactly how far this fake media has come with regard to technological advancement.
It only took a matter of hours before the concerns about user privacy started surfacing with this insanely popular app. Specifically, the clause that created such concerns stated that developers had a right to use any and all data, images, and information and could transfer it to third parties without gathering the permission from the users that uploaded the photos, to begin with.
Shortly thereafter, after legal analysts confirmed that this was illegal activity, the company decided to quickly remove that clause and issue a statement. The statement assured users, of course, that no information was being sold or traded, and that they were doing everything in their power to assure users that all their information and data was safe.