The Wall Street Journal: FBI warns FaceApp, other Russian software could put private data at risk

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned that certain Russian-made software, including the viral hit FaceApp, pose a potential counterintelligence threat and could put Americans’ private data at risk.

The FBI expressed the concerns in a letter sent to Senate Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that was released by the minority leader on Monday. The senator and Democratic National Committee in July urged the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate FaceApp for possible privacy violations due to its expansive terms of service.

FaceApp is a free mobile app that lets users upload photos of people’s faces they can alter to appear older or younger.

“Russia’s intelligence services maintain robust cyber exploitation capabilities,” the FBI said in the letter. For example, it said, the Russian Federal Security Service can remotely access all communications and servers on Russian networks without making a request to internet service providers.

“I strongly urge all Americans to consider deleting apps like FaceApp immediately and proceed with extreme caution when downloading apps developed in hostile foreign countries,” Schumer said Monday in a statement. “The personal data FaceApp collects from a user’s device could end up in the hands of Russian intelligence services.”

An expanded version of this report appears on

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