back to article Russian FaceApp selfie-slurper poses 'potential counterintelligence threat', FBI warns

Netizens who fire up FaceApp for fun may be unknowingly putting national security at risk, according to the FBI. In a recent letter (PDF) to US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Feds said the Russia-based face-aging tool released to much fanfare this past summer could conceivably be used by the Kremlin for intelligence. " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why bother

    There's no need for Mr.Putin to cut Russia off from the Internet, as Mr.Schumer and his cohorts will gladly do that for him anyway.

  2. tcmonkey


    I don’t have a horse in any of these political races, but a face morphing toy being used for espionage? Really? Really?! Please Mr Schumer, give the bottom of the barrel a break!

    tl;dr what a load of shit.

  3. stiine Silver badge

    Awww. Are the FBI upset that the Russians are copying them? waaah waaah waaah.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge


    The public voluntarily pour their PI into any and every App, Game, Social Media software they can find.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile

      Yes, but based in America, so it's safe !

      And it's monetized in America ! U S A ! U S A !

  5. bungle42
    Big Brother

    "The FBI considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat, based on the data product collects, its privacy and terms of use policies, and the legal mechanisms available to the Government of Russia that permit access to data within Russia's borders," wrote Jill Tyson"

    Exactly like the US does with data inside (and outside?) its borders, utter hypocrisy!

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      The $agency$1 considers any information anywhere that that they do not have access to be a potential counterintelligence threat.

      1Insert any security agency from any country here. Most non american agencies try not to make public statements that draw attention to themselves in this manner.

  6. iron Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "The FBI considers any mobile application or similar product developed in USA such as FaceBook, to be a intelligence gold mine, based on the data the product collects, it's privacy and terms of use policies, and the legal mechanisms available to the Government of USA that permit access to data within USA's borders," wrote Jill Tyson, assistant director of the FBI's office of congressional affairs.

  7. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    That's MY colour...

    Said the kettle to the pot...

    Do the people that raise these sort of things have any self awareness?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a potential counterintelligence threat,

    funny, how the first association I have is that they're concerned they (FBI, NSA, etc.) won't be able to spy on us, because people use that EVIL, EVIL FaceApp...

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "could conceivably be used by the Kremlin for intelligence"

    Anything on a phone could conceivably be used for intelligence. That is not news, it is not even a warning, it's just a fact.

    Come back with an actual, proven risk that that app is under orders from Moscow and then you'll have something interesting to say.

    Oh, I forgot, TLAs these days have no proof of nothing, they're just bleating FUD to keep the peons in line.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: "could conceivably be used by the Kremlin for intelligence"

      It's not FUD, If I ran an interweb business out of Moscow & the FSB told me to hand over details and keep silent I'd be very keen not to upset them in any way.

      The FBI (& other US agencies) send national security letters which prevent the recipient from disclosing the fact that they are required by law to assist investigations. The FSB makes no statement about the existance or otherwise of any similar facility within the Russian legal framework and why would they? (ditto all the other countries out there)

      Government Spying Rule #1: Don't tell people they are being spied on.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Well, the FBI just responded. And they told me any app or product developed in Russia like FaceApp is a potential counterintelligence threat."

    "And this is why we require an urgent, complete ban on all exports of hardwood and all the technology underlying the design of abacuses to Russia, as well as all imports of the finished articles from Russia. Without it, our national security shall be severely compromised. Oh, and let's also include China in that ban for a good measure," said the congressman in a follow-up interview. Or so I was told. Allegedly.

    When did the US get to the point, where it is no longer capable of functioning without an external enemy, real or manufactured? It feels like it happened during my lifetime, but the transition from the open and friendly society to the total-siege mentality was so gradual, I can't really pinpoint the exact moment - if there was one.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Nah - it's been going on forever. Well, not knowing how old you are, maybe this did happen in your lifetime :).

      Various "Commies" have been the Great Enemy since WWII, with occasional diversions into "terrorists/terrorism" (pick your flavour). Remember the Axis of Evil? Now that the Al-Qaida/ISIS threats are fading, Iraq is a shambles, and the Norks are officially Nice Guys, we're only left with Iran out of that lot, so now we have to go back to the Filthy Commies to keep the threat levels up.

      Are you old enough to remember the 1950's, when America was supposed to be under threat of instant annihilation, and everyone needed to practice their atomic bomb drills?

      TBF I don't know who the Great Enemy was before WWII - hopefully some of our USAian Commentards can fill us in?

  11. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change Bronze badge

    Who does this threaten?

    Am I bothered if the Russians get my mugshot? Nope. I don't do selfies, but they can grab a passport photo from some publicly-available places. Or if I travel to Russia, they'll surely scan it (and likely me) at the border, just as other countries do. And they have neither motive nor legal power to do me harm.

    More worrisome, UK spooks, who do have legal power to make my life hell. Or US spooks, whose boots TPTB in the UK would happily lick if they wished me harm. But I don't lose sleep over them either (though I may let it influence me on the margins).

    Nope, if this (presumed hypothetical) risk threatens anyone, it's not me, the private citizen of a Western country. But it might be someone else who sees it as their prerogative to gather all my data.

    Now ordinarily I wouldn't let that worry me too much either. But if they're so paranoid about it that they see it falling outside their own jurisdiction as a threat, perhaps that's the time to start worrying!

  12. Claverhouse Silver badge

    To Lose to... --- Donald TRUMP !

    Everything in the world terrifies Yanks.

    Not only ever scared of the outside Other, and the various ethnicities within, they also know a man's foes shall be they of his own household, and fear their own people.

    Let alone RUSSIAN telephone apps. They've read James Bond.


    As for old Chuck, it suffices to know he was conducting the Javits Center when Hillary was finally harpooned by the Great Orange Whale --- and all the disgustingly blubbering little twits were wrangled by him into a mass chant of "I Believe She Can Win !" as the curtains of night fell on her miserable failure.

    Of course by now old Hil no doubt thinks he too is a Russian Asset...

  13. ForthIsNotDead


    So, what he's saying is:

    FaceApp: Bad.

    Facebook: Good.

    Fuck off.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't pose as big an Intelligence Threat ...

    .. as Agent 0010 Boris.

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