The app that retouches your photos with AI as if you left school: it sweeps Instagram and TikTok, but steals them

As if the fish that was going to be caught paid the fisherman for taking the hook, that’s how this app called EPIK works (epic, yes).

The ‘Almendralejo’ case put into perspective, not at all positive, the use of certain apps to transform users into practically whatever they want. AI, apart from offering enormous benefits at all levels, also is being used maliciously to bribe people, or that are part of the strategies of companies that use users’ photos for whatever use they want to give them.

Because ultimately these apps continue to be a hook to attract thousands of users and these, with the satisfaction that sharing that photo retouched by AI means on social networks, They forget that they are giving permission to use their face. or image without really knowing its purpose. It happens with the EPIK app, which in a matter of days has gone viral with the use of one of its filters to turn any photo into one of those in which one appears to have just graduated from university.

The #YearBookChallenge hashtag used on TikTok has led to millions of downloads of this app, and even celebrities have published their photoshopped photos with thousands of likes received on different social networks. The problem with this app lies in the fact that all those thousands of photos uploaded to the app remain the property of Snow, a South Korean company that has different applications and services under its belt.

In fact, apart from being a service that is not free (3.99 euros to have the image in 24 hours or 6.99 euros in two hours), it forces acceptance of its conditions of use and privacy policy for use. of the app. And it is called forcing because if these terms are not accepted nor will the app open and close immediately. This is where another important piece of information comes in, shown by expert lawyer Borja Adsuara in his statements to El País: the app’s headquarters is outside the European Unionmaking it practically impossible for it to comply with Community legislation on data requests.

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The company precisely maintains that it uses all these photos to improve the app and your experience, but it is even capable of collecting data when the app is not used, and accepting the transfer of data to third parties (present in its conditions of use). , in this case the images of their faces, gives you permission to its use for three years or until the profile is closed. It even clarifies that this information can be shared with companies and organizations affiliated with Snow. Which means that the face of any of the users who have uploaded an image can appear on third-party services without anything being able to be done about it.

If these companies or organizations merge with others, sell themselves or transfer their assets, as Adsuara clarifies, these user data become a huge database of images for the use you want to give it. And the important thing: these images are linked to geolocation, information of great value to third parties, where the fact that the user does not see a direct danger when giving full rights over the use of their data comes into play again, in this case your image.

An image used in the app multiplied by the millions that have been uploaded in recent days, for any analyst, data engineer or firm dedicated to these tasks, becomes an asset of enormous value to sell to third parties. The curious and peculiar thing is that you have to pay 3.99 or 6.99 euros for that hook or hook which is the image completely transformed by artificial intelligence for present itself as a round business: as if the fish that goes straight for the fisherman’s lure even pays him to take the bait.

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