China’s Red-Hot Face-Swapping App Provokes Privacy Concern
Once again, a popular mobile app for generating deepfakes, i.e. images or videos doctored by artificial intelligence (AI), has prompted a major privacy backlash. Since last weekend, Chinese face-swap app Zao has taken China’s iOS store by storm. The app can generate deepfakes of scenes from popular movies and TV-shows where the faces of actors have been replaced by those of users.
In order for the app to work, users need to upload a photograph or let the app take several pictures of them. While this may seem innocent enough, many users became concerned about their privacy when they found out that Zao’s user agreement mentioned that the company behind the app had “free, irrevocable, permanent, transferable, and relicense-able” rights to all user-generated content. In response to the privacy backlash, the user agreement of the app has been updated to give users more control over their data.
Earlier this year, Russian-owned deepfake app FaceApp caused a similar stir among users concerned about their privacy.