Lensa: a popular app, but not without risks

An application using artificial intelligence is gaining popularity among Quebec Internet users, but it is far from without risk for personal data.

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Launched in 2018 and hosted in Russia, the Lensa application stood out last November, thanks to the “Magic Avatar” function, where you can upload 10 to 20 portraits and artificial intelligence retouches the “imperfections of the face” so your photos can “reach the next level”.

At a cost of $5, the application offers you 50 portraits – five variations of 10 different styles – of you in avatar, which appear to have been made by digital artists.


Lensa: a popular app, but not without risks

Photo taken from Benoît Vermette’s Facebook page

“I saw several people around me with it and I said to myself why not!” said Benoît Vermette, a freelance photographer who lives in the Montreal area, who said he’s not worried about his data at this time.

According to app data analytics firm SensorTower, the app was downloaded 1.6 million times worldwide in November, up 631% from October.

Be careful

Although the tool can be interesting, the conditions of use of the application raise eyebrows for many, according to what reports the site specializing in the field of technology Mashable.

Although Prisma, the company that runs the application, states that it “does not use the photos you provide…for any reason other than to apply different filters or stylized effects to them”, the company retains personal data for a period not specified in the privacy policy.

“Anything related to the capture of biometric data is data that can be used by state actors, or criminal organizations, who can try to impersonate us or as part of other programs” , explains Luc Lefebvre, cybersecurity expert.

As the app is hosted in Russia, it is difficult to actually legislate against it. “However, it is certain that if we want to adopt the best practices, particularly with law 25, adopted last September, it is obvious that there should be warnings which explain the capture of their personal information of sensitive data. in connection with their private life,” he added.

Prisma defended itself by specifying to another site specializing in the field of technology, TechCrunch, that it used cloud services from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to process the photos of its users. She claimed that she deletes the images provided immediately after the images have been trained by the AI.

– With information from TechCrunch and Mashable

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Lensa: a popular app, but not without risks


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