FBI Says ‘Counterintelligence Threat’ Could Be Posed By FaceApp

A “potential counterintelligence threat” is posed by FaceApp and other mobile applications that have been developed in Russia, said United State’s FBI.

These comments were made by the US investigating agency in a letter to US Senator Chuck Schumer after an investigation into the app was demanded by him.

Privacy concerns propped up after the face-editing tool went viral earlier this year.

There is rising concerns in te US about the threat to security posed by such products in recent times.

The agency said “it considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat”, in the letter addressed to Schumer. If it found that evidence of any foreign meddling into US politics through the app, it would take action, the FBI also said. The app changes an user’s picture to make it look younger or older.

No comment on the news was available from FaceApp.

A company based in St Petersburg called Wireless Lab is the developer of the app. However the company had said earlier in relation to the concerns about its app that the images are not stored by it permanently and added that it does not need to collect huge amounts of data but is concerned with only updating the specific image or photos that are selected for editing by users.

Concerns that the app could pose “national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens” prompted Senate minority leader Schumer to call for an investigation into FaceApp.

This is being viewed as a part of concerns over a wider criticism of foreign technology products in the US.

TikTok, a video-sharing platform owned by China’s ByteDance, was most recently put under scrutiny by US lawmakers. In recent year, the popularity of the app had increased manifold and it is believed that the app has a total of about half a billion active users globally. But the nature of Chinese ownership of the app and its increasing popularity has raised concerns over the app in the Western markets.

In October this year, a number of US lawmakers which included Schumer had requested that “the intelligence community conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-owned content platforms in the US”.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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