A photo storage app which offers users free unlimited private data backup of all your life memories. The slogan of the app on the website is ‘Make memories’ but it has been disclosed that the app is using the user’s private pictures to train and sell facial recognition AI, according to a report from NBC news.
The startup launched as a simple cloud storage business in 2013 and then eventually changed to a Facial recognition technology vendor in 2017. The company realized that the photo app is not going to be a venture scale business. Although, customers were not aware of this change or how their photographs and pictures are being misused.
“This looks like an egregious violation of people’s privacy,” said Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. “They are taking images of people’s families, photos from a private photo app, and using it to build surveillance technology. That’s hugely concerning.”
The photo storage app’s previously written policy states that facial recognition helped and organize users files, allowing them to group together images of the same individual. The purpose behind this that data was being used to train AI.
“Your files may be used to help improve and train our products and these technologies.”
“They are commercially exploiting the likeness of people in the photos to train a product that is sold to the military and law enforcement,” NYU law professor Jason Schultz told NBC News. “The idea that users have given real consent of any kind is laughable.”
The photo storage app ever has not sold its software to military or law enforcement agencies and claimed that they have never used personal data. But its pivot shows how facial recognition AI system is trained by photos taken from an unsuspecting public. Huge databases in the world of millions of photos like Megaface and faces in the wild have been used by academics and other firms to train AI.