Terms of Use

Woman using a smartphone
(Image credit: rawpixel.com from Pexels)

If you’re like me, your social media timelines are probably filled with images of your friends aging 50 years or more, whether gracefully or not so much. FaceApp, all the rage this week, allows users to alter photos in multiple ways—aging their faces, changing their hairstyles, etc.—using artificial intelligence.

Seems like harmless fun, right? Maybe. Or maybe not. According to FaceApp’s terms of service, users of the app grant the company “perpetual, irrevocable … (and) worldwide” license to “use, reproduce, modify … (and) publicly perform and display your User Content … in all media formats and channels now known or later developed.” In addition, “User Content removed from the Services may continue to be stored by FaceApp.”

That’s a lot of legal jargon, but what does that all mean? Basically FaceApp has access to the content on your device, and, once you use the app, even if you end up deleting it, FaceApp can still store and use your information, and without compensating you. Oh, and the company says it can’t guarantee the security of your information and that it can share your information with third-parties.

Even in the face of these exceptionally user-unfriendly terms of service, FaceApp has been used to alter photos “for more than 80 million users since its 2017 release,” according to an article in The Washington Post. A bit scary, right? But situations like these are not uncommon. How often do you actually read the terms and conditions behind the apps you install on your phone? More importantly, how often do you read the terms and conditions behind the products you install for your clients?

As an industry, we need to start paying closer attention to situations like these. Integrators are trusted with sensitive information from clients—especially when it comes to government, education, or corporate installations—and need to ensure they are aware of all of the terms set forth by manufacturers, and then weigh the risks and rewards of installing said products.

Understanding the terms of service will become even more complicated, and more critical, as AV professionals find themselves installing facial recognition/detection systems with more regularity, as there are very strict legal implications with this technology. Let’s make a pledge to take that extra five, 10, or even 50 minutes to read and understand the terms and conditions so our industry can remain on solid footing in this shifting technological landscape.

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.