Russia-based FaceApp is a digital aging tool that gives a glimpse of what you would look like in old age. However, with the United States presidential elections around the corner, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has called for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to probe the Russian app over national security and privacy concerns.

In a letter to the FBI’s director Christopher Wray and Federal Trade Commission’s chairman Joe Simons, Schumer said millions of U.S. citizens are at risk. The senator said full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data could pose national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) also warned its 2020 presidential candidates against using the app. Bob Lord, DNC’s security chief also urged the Democratic presidential campaigns to delete the app immediately.

However, there is no evidence that FaceApp passes on the user data to the Russian government.

FaceApp was developed by Wireless Lab, a company based in Kremlin’s St. Petersburg. According to Forbes, over a 100,000 million people across the world have downloaded the app from Google Play.

And now, this smartphone application is amongst the top-ranked app on iOS App Store in 121 countries. The app’s terms and conditions states that “You (the user) grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name etc.”

Reuters said FaceApp has recently faced public scrutiny over issues such as not clearly communicating that the app uploads images to a cloud rather than processing them locally on a user’s device.

FaceApp The selfie-editing app allowing users to filter themselves as black, caucasian, Asian or Indian has drawn accusations of racism. Photo: FaceApp

Senator Schumer highlighted in his letter that its not clear how the artificial intelligence application retains the data of users or how users may ensure the deletion of their data after usage. He also pointed out that the app’s photo editing location in Russia raises questions about how FaceApp lets third parties (including foreign governments) have access to the data of American citizens.

FaceApp, which was launched in 2017, maintains that user data hasn’t been compromised. Its millions of users also include celebrities Carrie Underwood and comedian Kevin Hart.