DNC Security Chief Warns Dem Candidates To Avoid Using Popular Face-Changing App

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The Democratic National Committee has warned the party’s presidential candidates not to use a popular Russian-based app allowing people generate older versions of their faces, CNN reported Wednesday.

“This app allows users to perform different transformations on photos of people, such as aging the person in the picture. Unfortunately, this novelty is not without risk: FaceApp was developed by Russians,” Bob Lord, the DNC’s chief security officer, noted in an alert to the candidate’s campaigns.

The app makes alterations to a user’s face and is designed to provide people a glimpse at what they might look like years into the future. Experts say the application can access, store and use camera images. (RELATED: Tech Experts Raise Red Flag On Face-Aging App, Say It’s Not What It Appears)

Super-realistic face masks are displayed at factory of REAL-f Co. in Otsu, western Japan, November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kwiyeon Ha

Tech experts urged caution before jumping into app. “So, overall, I think it is important that we think carefully about the safeguards put in place to protect photo archives and the motives and methods of the apps we give access to,” TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Matthew Panzarino said in a blog post Wednesday.

The makers of FaceApp released a statement Wednesday addressing concerns. “We don’t share any user data with any third parties,” the statement notes before adding: “Even though the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia.”

Russian hackers managed to worm their way inside DNC’s internal system before the 2016 U.S. presidential election and lift thousands of documents. The DNC hired Lord who beefed up cyber security after the hack, which some Democrats believe helped secure President Donald Trump a general election win.

The DNC has “significant concerns about the app (as do other security experts) having access to your photos, or even simply uploading a selfie,” Lord told the campaigns. “It’s not clear at this point what the privacy risks are, but what is clear is that the benefits of avoiding the app outweigh the risks.”

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