China’s AI face-changing app goes viral, raising privacy concerns
 updatetime:2019-09-05 16:10:20   Views:0 Source:China Plus

A China’s face-swapping app that allows users to superimpose their own likeness over characters in movies or TV shows has rapidly become one of the country's most downloaded apps.

But it has also triggered concerns about the issue of privacy.


This combination photo shows a user changing the face of Leonardo DiCaprio into his own in a film clip. [Photo: screenshot of Twitter user @AllanXia]

Released on Friday, the Zao app went viral as Chinese users pounced on the chance to act out scenes from well-known movies. This is done using "deepfake" technology, which has already prompted concerns elsewhere over its potential misuse.

Users provide a series of selfies in which they blink, open their mouths or assume other expressions. The app will then realistically morph the person's animated likeness onto movies, TV shows or other similar content.

But this has also resulted in privacy concerns as the app’s policy reportedly gave it "free, irrevocable, permanent, transferable, and re-licenseable" rights to all user-generated content.

Apart from worrying that their personal information can be disclosed, users are also concerned that the app – through facial recognition technology - can compromise their online payment accounts.

On Sunday, the app issued a statement pledging to modify its privacy policy. It also assured users that the app will not result in any compromise to their payment accounts.

The app has since changed its terms to ensure that it will not use headshots or videos uploaded by users other than to improve the app.

It also pledged to remove from its servers any content that was uploaded but subsequently deleted by users.

Zao is owned by Momo Inc., a Tinder-like Chinese dating service that is listed on the US Nasdaq.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology spoke to the developer of the AI face-changing app on Wednesday.

The Ministry’s department of network security said it demanded the company to adhere to relevant laws regarding the collection of personal information. Apart from calling on the company to standardize its terms of agreement, it also made it clear that the company should do its utmost to ensure the protection of user data.

Web Editor:MXJ