The best publicity developers can hope for is this.
Two years after FaceApp, a mobile retouching app, was widely criticized for one of its filters, which critics called a "digital version of a white and black face show," it has become the focus of a popular social media challenge this week.
Many celebrities have used the app's age filter to alter their photos to make them look like themselves decades later. But then the rally began.
The app, developed by Wireless Lab in st. Petersburg, Russia, was among the top free apps on both the apple and android app stores on Wednesday. One widely retweeted but later deleted tweet said the app uploaded far more data than users realized. "The russians have all your old pictures," declared a headline in the New York Post.
这款应用由俄罗斯圣彼得堡的无线实验室(Wireless Lab)开发，周三在苹果和安卓应用商店的免费应用中都名列前茅。一条被大量转发但之后被删的推文称，这款应用上传的数据比用户意识到的要多得多。“你的所有老照片都在俄罗斯人手上，”《纽约邮报》(New York Post)的新闻标题宣称。
On Wednesday afternoon, the Democratic National Committee even issued a warning, urging the presidential campaign staff to remove the app immediately, citing its ties to Russia.
周三下午，民主党全国委员会(Democratic National Committee)甚至发出警告，敦促总统竞选团队的工作人员立即删除这款应用，理由是它与俄罗斯有关。
But at least some of those fears are overblown, according to several security researchers.
The information that the app sends is just my device model, my device ID and the android version, which is very limited and very common for apps, said Baptiste Robert, a French security researcher who has studied data abuse for smartphone apps.
Rob did, however, find another type of data that was uploaded to the FaceApp server without the user's consent: photos that the user wanted to change.
The app says its three age filters -- two for making people younger and one for making them older -- use "artificial intelligence" to make realistic changes to existing photos. Celebrities who have Shared the altered images include Drake, Gordon Ramsay, Jonas Brothers and Dwyane Wade.
该应用称，它的三个年龄滤镜——两个用于让人物变年轻，一个用于人物变老——使用“人工智能”对现有照片做出逼真的修改。分享这种被修改的照片的名人包括德雷克(Drake)、戈登·拉姆齐(Gordon Ramsay)、乔纳斯兄弟(Jonas Brothers)和德维恩·韦德(Dwyane Wade)。
The company didn't respond to multiple requests for comment, but it explained how the software works in a lengthy statement released Wednesday by TechCrunch. When a user selects a photo to modify, the image -- and only the image -- is uploaded to the FaceApp's server for processing, the company said.
We may store uploaded photos in the cloud, the statement said. "The main reason is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that users don't repeat uploading photos every time they edit. Most images are removed from our servers within 48 hours of uploading."
Although the research and development team is based in Russia, the company said user data had not been transferred to the country. FaceApp's founder, Yaroslav Goncharov, told TechCrunch that the photo processing was done on servers run by amazon and Google.
In a letter on Wednesday, senator Chuck Schumer, democrat of New York, asked the fbi and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the app, citing "serious concerns" about security, data retention and transparency.
在周三的一封信中，纽约州民主党参议员查克·舒默(Chuck Schumer)要求联邦调查局和联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)对这款应用进行调查，理由是安全、数据保存和透明度方面的“严重关切”。
It would be very disturbing if the sensitive personal information of American citizens were provided to a hostile foreign power that is conducting frequent cyberattacks against the United States, he wrote.
But Google software engineer Ivan Rodriguez says he found nothing to worry about. In his spare time, rodriguez investigates suspicious iOS apps, including FaceApp. Like rob, he found that the app collected little identifiable data beyond the photos the user chose to modify.
I don't understand where these 'concerns' come from, except for the parent company based in Russia, he said on Twitter. "I mean, I certainly don't have the resources that the fbi or even the FTC have, but so far I haven't found anything alarming or that the app is trying to hide potentially harmful features."
Like many other applications, FaceApp USES services offered by Facebook and Google to developers, known as the API, rob said. He said that while he was disappointed by the rapid dissemination of false claims about the program's collection of information, he was pleased with the impetus behind it.
To be honest, I'm happy because people are starting to get interested in these kinds of issues, Robert said. "they're starting to understand, well, maybe there are privacy issues."
But, he notes, such concerns tend to backtrack in the face of fresh experiences. "The cool factor plays a big role," he said.
Rob and two other researchers looking into the matter said they found no evidence on apple or android phones that FaceApp was secretly uploading entire albums. But they all expressed concern that, like many other apps, the app failed to alert users that their data was being uploaded to remote servers.
If they don't take privacy seriously, how can they take security seriously? "Asked Will Strafach, the founder and chief executive of the Guardian Firewall, whose tool is coming to iOS that gives users more control over their data. "If they don't take security seriously, what is the risk of internal threats or breaches?"
“如果他们不把隐私当回事，又怎么会把安全当回事呢?”卫士防火墙(Guardian Firewall)的创始人兼首席执行官威尔·斯特拉法奇(Will Strafach)问，他的这款即将登陆iOS的工具可以让用户对自己的数据有更多控制。“如果他们不认真对待安全问题，公司遭到内部威胁或被攻破的风险有多大？”
Others have raised concerns about facebook's privacy policies and terms, mainly one that gives the app broad rights to users' photos. But Jeremy Gillula, director of technology programs at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties group, said it was similar to other applications.
其他人则对FaceApp的隐私政策和条款提出了担忧，主要是其中一条让FaceApp获取了对用户照片的广泛权利。但非营利性公民自由组织电子前沿基金会(Electronic Frontier Foundation)的技术项目总监杰里米·吉卢拉(Jeremy Gillula)表示，它与其他应用的情况类似。
We've always had concerns, he said. "It seems to me that a lot of applications and services generally have this general clause that says: you grant us permission to copy, modify, adapt, create derivative works, distribute, perform and display user content globally, which I always think is a bit excessive."