It's been all over my news feed: photos of people I know who downloaded this app that turns them into cartoon characters. I will admit, I thought the idea was cute at first, but then I realized it's just like things we've seen in the past. Is it safe?

I'm sure you remember it. There was a time where it was popular to download Faceapp to turn yourself into the opposite sex, or into the 80-year-old version of yourself. Those trends and this trend have something in common: it's possibly a threat to your privacy on the internet.

According to Komando, the app called Voilà AI Artist has over 10 million downloads and had over 33 thousand reviews. If you downloaded the app, did you take a minute to read the privacy policy?

If a company creates an app and wants it listed in an app store, it's required that they come up with a privacy policy, or terms of use.

When you use Voilà, you automatically sign over all different kinds of information to the company, including:

  • Your computer’s IP address.
  • Internet browser type and browser version.
  • Your mobile device unique ID.
  • The IP address of your mobile device.
  • Through Google Analytics, the company also collects your location.

Apparently, this is a standard within the mobile development industry. But not that's not all it collects. Tech Crunch says by downloading the app and agreeing to the terms and privacy policy, you grant the company “a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to host, store, use in any way, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, and distribute Uploaded and Generated content.”

Basically, that means that if you upload an image to the platform, Voilà has the right to use it, but they don’t own it. This isn’t abnormal for these apps — when we upload photos to Instagram, for example, we also grant the platform the right to use our images.

So, is it something safe for your privacy? That depends on what you think is appropriate to share. Some may find the fact that this company has rights to photos and can do whatever they want with them to be disturbing. Some may find this normal, as after all, Instagram has the same terms. The app claims it deletes your photos after 24-28 hours, but is there proof of that? No.

So, do what you please, just be aware of the risks. I don't want to see the photos of you and your entire family used for unintended purposes.

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