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FaceApp: Deleting it doesn't mean you get your data back



But privacy concerns grew rapidly around the app's terms of service. Everyone who agreed to the terms gave FaceApp access to their photos, names and similarities.

Some of the terms said users give the company "irrevocable" access to "use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish … distribute" any name, username or similarity provided.

Its viral success showed how little people are examining companies' terms or privacy rules before giving them access to sensitive information. The problem is hardly limited to FaceApp: Service users including Facebook ( FB ) Google ( GOOG ) and Amazon ( AMZN ) often accepts similar terms without reading them.

Read the Terms of Service

If a company says it owns your data and you consent to their terms and conditions and their terms and conditions, then they own your data, according to Melissa Brekke, a lawyer at Gunderson Dettmer who prepares and reads them the guidelines regularly.

  FaceApp & # 39; s viral success proves we will never take our digital privacy seriously

"Nothing is a "It can always be an argument that [a company] has gone too far, or that it doesn't have all the rights they think they have for whatever reason," B told CNN Business. "Often often, even if a company grants rights to your data, they may also include information on how to get them deleted."

If you have downloaded an app or visited a site and are concerned about your personal information, there are steps you can take to try to unlock it.

Ending an app's access to personal information or a function, such as your camera, is another way to limit your sharing of data. But this is not retroactive; It will only cut access to new data in the future.

"[When] You delete an app, it just means you can't use it anymore," said Jen King, Consumer Privacy Director at Stanford Law School's Internet and Society Center. "The company does not know you deleted the app. They are completely ignorant and it does nothing to get back the data you sent them."

Ask the company to delete your information

One step people can take is to send Enter a formal request to a company to get the information deleted. Not all companies allow people to do this, but even for those who do, it is not necessarily an easy process. For example, FaceApp lets users submit a written request through their app to wipe their records. However, it is unclear how quickly this happens. FaceApp did not respond to a request for comment.

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Another option is the legal route to solve the problem in court. If a company did not do certain things, such as sending alerts on updated policies or getting people to confirm affirmatively to agree to the terms, a stronger case may come against the terms. Showing a policy that only a link at the bottom of a site, using too small a font or pre-checking the consent box can also benefit consumers, according to Brekke.

She said it is often technically difficult for companies to really delete your data.

"[It] requires that they know all the places they store your data, should be able to attach all the data they have about you to your request and have the back-end capabilities to delete them," she said.

Facebook, for example, says on its website that it can take up to 90 days to delete everything someone has posted. Some companies can only delete selected data. In a letter to Senator Chris Coons in June, Amazon said it would erase Alexa-related voice recordings on a customer's request, but could still keep people's data related to things such as purchases and reminders.

What the law says

In some jurisdictions, such as the European Union, companies are legally obliged to comply with the deletion requests. That's because the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in May 2018, introduces much tougher data protection rules for companies and requires them to agree to such requests with just a few exceptions. In January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act will grant similar rights to state residents.

Prior to both laws, companies had to make sure their platforms were able to respond to deletion requests, according to Brekke. For people who are not covered by these laws, it is even more important to understand what is in a company's policy before agreeing to them.

In the case of FaceApp, the privacy policy is really standard. But the Terms of Use section has a very broad license "that looks very much like", according to Brekke.

"Users have given FaceApp an irrevocable license to do what they want with any user content they have uploaded," she said. "They don't technically own your photos, but they basically have unlimited rights to them."


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