Google’s Arts and Culture app has users worrying about their privacy

Google’s Arts and Culture app is currently all the rage thanks to a new feature that matches users’ selfies with their historic art doppelgänger. But according to, privacy expert Sam Trosow has some concerns about the feature. Trosow says that the Google Arts and Culture app can access and potentially save your private information.

Trosow, who works with Western University’s faculty of law, told that app users should always read the fine print before downloading. For example, Google’s privacy policy reads, “We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users.”

But once they have your info, Google can pretty much do whatever they want with it. Tosow explained,

"This type of personal content is indeed extremely valuable from a potential monetization and/or marketing perspective. It could also assist the company in R&D for facial recognition products."

That’s right — if Google wanted to, it could store your selfie for future use. But Google did tell The Washington Post that they’re not saving users’ selfies, even though doing so could help the company improve their “machine learning” technology, which is what matches faces to paintings.

The Google Arts and Culture app reportedly only saves your selfies for the amount of time it takes to find a match.

Interestingly enough, people in Texas and Illinois might have noticed that they are unable to use the selfie-matching feature on the app. That’s because these two states forbid facial recognition technologies to be used to identify people without their consent, The Post reports. false

Despite privacy concerns, facial recognition technology is on the rise. Google also implements facial recognition with its Photos service. And Facebook began using the technology to notify users when a photo of them was uploaded, even when said user wasn’t even tagged.

Then of course, the iPhone X raised eyebrows upon debut with its feature that allows users to unlock their phones, make purchases, and create their own emojis via facial recognition.

Being aware of who has access to your image is incredibly important. Weirdly enough, your face is now like any other piece info you have on the web, which means it’s susceptible to hacking. Do your research before signing up for apps that require facial recognition to make sure your face ultimately stays yours.

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