Fraud fears over Chinese ‘deepfake’ app

zao app

Fraud fears over Chinese ‘deepfake’ app.

What’s the Story?

Chinese-developed video app Zao has come under fire for stripping users of the rights to the images they upload.

The ‘deepfake’ app lets people cast themselves in the role of popular film and TV characters. One video, which recently went viral, replaced actor Leonardo DiCaprio with a Chinese user in scenes from the 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic. Despite the fun and games, the app’s end-user agreement has come under intense fire.

According to the South China Morning Post, it “gave the developers the global right to permanently use any image created on the app for free”. And Chinese messaging app WeChat has now banned the use of the Zao app due to associated “security risks”.

Note: Don’t use WeChat app also as it has a 99.99% of security breach and data theft which goes directly to Chinese servers.

Developer Momo has since apologised and removed this clause from its terms and conditions. However, the issue doesn’t end there. Some experts have suggested that the deepfake technology could be used to defraud facial-recognition systems at financial institutions.

Image Credits:

Chinese internet giant Alibaba, which owns the PayPalstyle AliPay, went as far as releasing a statement explaining that even the impressively accurate deepfake videos could not be used by others to pay for goods.

It said: “There is a lot of online face-changing software – but no matter how realistic, it is impossible to break through the facial payment system”.

Also Read: Does Facebook leak phone numbers of 210 million users ?

How will it affect you?

If you haven’t used Zao, your data is safe because for now, the issue only relates to users of the AI app.

So far, it’s impacted Chinese audiences, but it’s entirely possible that western developers will release a similar app with an equally obtuse end-user agreement. As always, check the terms and conditions before signing up for apps.

These types of apps are becoming more popular – a new one hits the app store each weekend and it’s all too easy to get swept up in their viral nature. But it isn’t always “just a bit of a laugh”. No technology company should own the rights to your image – and any that try should be shown the door.

What do we think?

Fears over advanced artificial intelligence, data misuse and cybersecurity are all part of a modern disaster story that’s becoming all too prevalent.

Following the recent Russian made FaceApp – which aged users’ selfies to make them look like pensioners – it highlights yet another example of the way apps use, or own, the data you provide.

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