Alerts via New Profile Pic app originally registered in Russia

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Experts warned users to be wary of the New Profile Pic app, which collects large amounts of personal data.

Originally registered in Russia, the app allows users to upload an existing photo to create a profile picture in a picture or cartoon look.

Tens of thousands of users have uploaded images to the app to get profile pictures.

happened reported Linerock Investments, the company behind the app, is located in an apartment near the Moscow River, next to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

However, Photo Lab spokesperson Kate Polezhaeva said: Independent “While there are development and customer support offices in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus… the company’s senior management and managers of the majority of projects, including myself, are outside these countries”.

According to Google Play Store, the app has been installed over 1 million times and viewed by nearly 30,000 users. It is listed as the number one free app in the App Store.

Cybersecurity consultant Jake Moore said “This app is probably a way to capture people’s faces in high resolution, and I would question any app that requests this amount of data, especially an app that is largely unheard of and is located in another country”.

But the fact-checking website snopes “There is little evidence to suggest that this app is more invasive than other apps in collecting user data,” he wrote.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists offshore leaks database shows Linerock Investments Ltd has an address in Moscow and is also affiliated with the British Virgin Islands.

However, Ms. Polezhaeva said, “The address on the Moscow River is the address of the lawyers who registered the company. We didn’t have any offices there,” he said.

“It is true that the domain is registered to the Moscow address. It is the former Moscow address of the founder of the company. He is not currently living in the Russian Federation,” he said. “The address has been changed so far to avoid any confusion.”

A company based in St Petersburg in western Russia released FaceApp in 2017, allowing users to upload photos that will be edited using artificial intelligence to make them look older. A challenge that has gone viral has caused security experts to warn users about the amount of data the app sends to Russia.

Warnings were made through the New Profile Pic application, which collects large amounts of personal data from its users.

(Screenshot / Linerock Investments LTD)

The New Profile Pic application introduces the application by saying, “The world around us is developing at a fast pace and constantly”. In this ever-changing world, why stick to a single profile picture on your social media? Let it be different, always new and… made by artificial intelligence!”

“The NewProfilePic app allows you to change your user display style as often as you want. Dare to be different with a profile picture that reflects your current mood or mood. Impress your friends on social media and get them interested in what’s next!” promotional material for application situations.

Users agree to share their location, information about what type of device they are using, and other photos uploaded to their social media accounts when downloading the app.

The data policy states that “we collect certain personal information that you voluntarily provide to us”.

We collect your name, email address, username, social network information and other information you provide when registering.

The application also collects data about the user from other companies, as well as the user’s IP address, browser type and settings.

The developers of the app say that “we use special facial recognition technologies to detect a photo when you select an effect that includes facial manipulations; Find the necessary facial key points and apply the effect to your photo”.

The detected highlights can be kept with the photo on our providers’ servers for up to two weeks from the last interaction with the photo to speed up further processing of the same photos.

“Before people upload photos or other personal data to a brand new website, they should do their own due diligence, if possible,” Moore said.

“While most people wouldn’t question the possibility that there is anything undesirable from just uploading a photo, the amount of data received under the radar can often be much greater than the user intended to share, causing security and privacy issues,” he added.

“I always exercise caution, as it’s nearly impossible to regain control of sensitive data once you’ve given it away, regardless of where it is located,” he said.

Miss Polezhaeva told Independent “We understand that due to current events in Ukraine, any link with Russia may raise suspicion. Therefore, we would like to share our position on this issue. founder’s instagram”.

“We have not had any affiliation with any government agency of any country and we do not intend to be,” he added.

“All user photos are hosted and processed on Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure servers located outside the Russian Federation,” he said.

On February 20, four days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Photo Lab founder Victor Sazhin partially wrote on Instagram: “Our team has development offices in Moscow and Kyiv, Novosibirsk and Odessa. Our iOS team is mostly Russian. Our Android team – mostly Ukrainian”.

“I was personally born in Moscow in the USSR and moved to Krivyi Rih when I was two months old. Literally my homeland is Russia and my homeland is Ukraine,” he added. “Since Moscow is my home and Kryvyi Rih is the beloved city of my childhood, I would never dream of discussing a war issue between our nations.”