DNC warns 2020 candidates not to use FaceApp

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is urging 2020 candidates not to use the aging filter photo app FaceApp over fear of security concerns based on the app’s Russian roots. 

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The DNC sent an alert to campaigns on Wednesday afternoon asking candidates not to use FaceApp as the aging filter went viral with dozens of celebrities sharing their photos, DNC spokesman Daniel Wessel confirmed to The Hill. 

The DNC’s alert was first reported by CNN.

“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,” DNC chief security officer Bob Lord’s alert to campaigns read. ADVERTISEMENT

Some legal experts said the app raised security concerns over broad language in the privacy policy which says it “cannot ensure the security of any information you transmit to FaceApp or guarantee that information on the Service may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed” and says FaceApp can share user content with affiliated businesses. 

FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told The Guardian that data is not transferred to Russia but instead stored on U.S.-controlled cloud computing services provided by Amazon and Google. 

The DNC has been attempting to amp up security after attacks from Russian hackers in 2016. 

Lord’s alert admits that “it’s not clear at this point what the privacy risks are,” but the DNC still advises campaigns to avoid using the app. 

“What is clear is that the benefits of avoiding the app outweigh the risks,” the alert said. “If you or any of your staff have already used the app, we recommend that they delete the app immediately.”