FaceApp proves that fun trumps privacy

Robert Cyran for Reuters Breakingviews:

A new app kerfuffle shows that fun still trumps privacy concerns. Consumers love FaceApp’s filter for making selfies look older or sexier, but its Russian ownership has suddenly sparked worries about potential data misuse. Yet the app isn’t new, and people have been posting their images on social media for years. It’s past time for regulators to set some boundaries.

Consumers willingly share their selfies for a few minutes of fun, but once in the cloud those images can potentially be used for everything from identity theft to so-called deepfakes, or realistic looking videos designed to spread disinformation.

The controversy will probably fizzle out quickly… It’s a pattern that has grown increasingly familiar ever since the late Apple boss Steve Jobs put cameras on smartphones and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook turned people onto social media.

Companies and consumers can’t be counted on to break this cycle. The financial incentives are too strong for firms to forswear data collection. It’s unrealistic to expect the average person to give informed consent to every lengthy user agreement. Regulators need real sticks to ensure better behavior by companies…

MacDailyNews Take: Forget about “fun,” clueless people pay companies to collect, decipher, and record their DNA, for God’s sake!

Again, hopefully we’ll get to some real protection for U.S. consumers via comprehensive federal privacy legislation. Users should be asked for their consent upfront and have the ability delete their data at any time.

Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly. I’m an optimist; I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data. — Steve Jobs, June 2010

At Apple, your trust means everything to us. That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled… A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realise that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, September 2014

People who value privacy and security use Apple products.MacDailyNews, September 12, 2015

The more people are educated about unchecked data collection and the more who value their privacy, the better Apple’s sales will be. Today, it’s literally Apple against the world.MacDailyNews, July 14, 2017


  1. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. – Ayn Rand

  2. Folks, the reason people trade privacy for “utility,” is not ignorance but cost. Many people will use a FREE service by trading a “little privacy” for it — “how much could it hurt, after all?” That THIS is blissful ignorance is beyond their threshold-of-belief. And cries of it-can’t-be-undone simply bounce off.

    Perhaps if we could actually explain to them that we are NOT Google’s customers. Nor Facebook’s. Etc, etc. A “customer” is someone who PAYS you for what you give them.

    It’s like a commercial fisherman. Those FREE services are not Google’s PRODUCTS (the fish). They are the BAIT. YOU are the fish that takes the BAIT. The FISHERMAN (Google) then “guts” you and sells you to his real Customer — the one who ACTUALLY PAYS Google. A quick glance at Google’s Income Statement reveals that it earns a profit on this ONE AND ONLY ONE thing — selling your data to its REAL customers. And the more they can discover and/or interpret about you, the more money they can charge. And Google is a VERY profitable company!

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