Face-Aging App Highlights Online Privacy Concerns

Monday, July 22, 2019
Sid Stamm looks at a laptop with a student

Computer science and software engineering associate professor Sid Stamm is an expert in computer security and data privacy. He formerly was a lead architect and engineer on security and privacy issues with Mozilla.

The popularity of the face-aging app, FaceApp, has again drawn attention to the issue of how easy it is for people to unknowingly share their personal data, including their profile photographs – with unforeseen consequences.

Cybersecurity expert Sid Stamm, associate professor of computer science and software engineering, offers the following advice to web users:

  • It is important to stop and think about which apps are installed and what data is provided to them.
  • Always consider the effects of sharing any information online. 
  • You cannot "un-upload" or "un-share" pictures, videos and words.

Also, Stamm cautions that just because it has been revealed that FaceApp originated in Russia doesn’t mean that the application is necessarily bad.  For example, Russian-made Kaspersky Antivirus is a top-rated antivirus software that’s widely used in the computer industry.

Stamm says: “People got excited because a Russian firm is collecting your data; don't forget about other apps that collect much more, like Facebook.”

A former lead architect and engineer on security and privacy with Mozilla, Stamm is an expert in computer security, data privacy and web standards. He helps Rose-Hulman students hone their cybersecurity skills through classes and extracurricular activities, like the Computer Security Club, which has successfully competed in various cyber defense competitions. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rose-Hulman and followed with master’s and doctorate degrees in computer science from Indiana University.