In Response To Schumer Request For National Security & Privacy Review Of FaceApp, FBI Says Any App Or Similar Product Developed In Russia – Including FaceApp – Are A Potential Counterintelligence Threat

December 2, 2019

FBI Responds To Leader Schumer July 2019 Request, Says It Considers Apps Like FaceApp To Be A Potential Counterintelligence Threat 

FBI Emphasizes That The Data Collection, Privacy And Terms Of Use Policies, And Potential For Russian Gov’t Access To User Data Make Russia-Based Applications Potential Security Threats To U.S. 

Leader Schumer: Now That FBI Confirmed FaceApp And Apps Like It Are Potential Counterintelligence Threats To U.S., Americans Should Consider Deleting Apps Like FaceApp From Phones, Think Twice Before Using Apps Developed In Russia 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), written in response to Leader Schumer’s July 17, 2019 letter calling for federal national security and privacy review into the risks posed by the Russia-based FaceApp, a mobile software application used by millions of Americans that requires full and irrevocable access to user’s personal photos and data.

In its response to Leader Schumer, the FBI concludes that mobile applications like Russia-based FaceApp are potential security threats, based on “the data the 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.” The FBI also emphasizes that Russia’s intelligence services maintain “robust cyber exploitation services” and can remotely access data located on Russian networks without making a request to an Internet Service Provider. The FBI also says it is prepared to address foreign influence operations involving apps like FaceApp against elected officials, candidates, political campaigns, and political parties, as appropriate.

“In light of FBI’s warning that FaceApp, and similar applications developed in Russia, poses a potential counterintelligence threat to the United States, I strongly urge all Americans to consider deleting apps like FaceApp immediately and proceed with extreme caution when downloading apps developed in hostile foreign countries,” said Leader Schumer. “The personal data FaceApp collects from a user’s device could end up in the hands of Russian intelligence services.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s letter to Leader Schumer can be found here.