Updated: May 13
There are reports coming in that a new Photo App that turns your pictures into a fancy Cartoonish look may have some privacy concerns.
First we must address the major concern of getting news and information from a social media outlet, more specifically from an unknown source. Anytime you see something online it is always advised to perform independent researching using your preferred browser. For example a Google Search or Bing Search for "is NewProfilePic.com a safe App?" or "NewProfilePic Privacy Concerns" and click thru some of the information available. The key to good research is to perform two opposing searches with differing views. Remember, if you go looking for a specific outcome, a search engine will help you find it. Obtaining information from two sides will help you identify fact from fiction.
What we do know:
Anything new and exciting should always be approached with caution, remember momma always said "if your friend jumped off a cliff would you do the same?"
The company, more specifically the web domain for this app is relatively new. You can check this information by visiting https://lookup.icann.org/en/lookup and type in any web address.
Registry Expiration: 2022-12-14 01:42:15 UTC
Updated: 2022-04-06 09:36:34 UTC
Created: 2020-12-14 01:42:15 UTC
The company behind the App is called Linerock Investments Ltd, who according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Offshore Leaks database, is registered in Moscow. A spokesperson for the app said that its team of developers are from all over the world, including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. "The NewProfilePic app does not store users’ accounts or any personal data. …This app is safe for people to use it," they added.
The NewProfilePic app currently has an excellent 4.8-star rating on the Google Play store and it has been installed more than 1 million times.
NewProfilePic isn't the only app under Linerock Investments, which also boasts Christmas Photo Frames & Cards, which lets users create a holiday greeting using their photos. The company also hosts the Photo Collada collage maker. Both apps have been downloaded more than 1 million times.
It also isn't the first app to allegedly send photos to Russia.
In 2017, FaceApp was created which used AI to edit photos. The Saint Petersburg-based company was flagged by numerous security experts concerning the amount of personal data being sent through the app.
Installing any App, whether from a trusted source or not you should always check to see what permissions the application request. Apps may request access to your contacts, device hardware, location, personal information, payment information, etc. If you don't understand how technology works this may cause some confusion. However, if you stop for a moment and consider what the App does you should be able to figure out what permissions are required.
For example, about 10 years ago your smart phone didn't have a native flash light feature, so users would go to the App Store and download a Flash Light App. The App Store on Android and Apple were filled with third party vendors who created an application that would turn your camera's flash on. This app would require access to hardware, specifically your camera. If the app requested information such as personal information, contacts, or location it would be a good idea to look for another developer. If payment is requested do you want to trust this vendor with your Credit Card or Debit Card. We've covered in great detail on how to protect your payment details by using Privacy.com to create burner payment cards with total or monthly limits.
The New Profile Pic app promotes the application by saying that “the world around us is fast-paced and always evolving. In this ever changing world, why stick to one profile pic on your social media? Let it be different, always new and… made by AI!”
“The NewProfilePic app lets you change your user image style as often as you want. Dare to be different, with a profile pic that reflects your current mood or state of mind. Impress your friends on social media and keep them interested in what’s coming next!” the promotional material for the app states.
When downloading the app, users agree to share their location, information about what kind of device they’re using, and other photos uploaded to their social media accounts.
The data policy says that “we collect certain personal information that you voluntarily provide to us”.
“We collect your name, email address, user name, social network information and other information you provide when you register,” it adds.
The app also collects data about the user from other companies, as well as the user’s IP address, browser type and settings.
The developers of the app say that “whenever you choose an effect that involves face manipulations we use special face recognition technologies to detect a photo; find required facial key points, and apply the effect to your photo”.
The “detected key points may be kept along with the photo on the servers of our providers for up to two weeks from the last interaction with the photo ... to speed up further processing of the same photos,” the company says.
As of writing there is no clear evidence from security expert on whether this website and app is safe to use. Jake Moore, Global Cybersecurity Advisor, ESET Internet Security stated "This app is likely a way of capturing people's faces in high resolution and I would question any app wanting this amount of data, especially one which is largely unheard of and based in another country." If you want to take our lead, ignore the hype and have your kids draw a silly picture of your and upload it to social media instead. Remember if an app is free you become the product and you're information is used to sell to advertisers...