Data Privacy Risks to Know About Lensa AI & Similar "Fad Apps"

Zachary Kitchen
February 25, 2023

You may already have your own AI-generated picture pasted on your Instagram feed, like many others. It was a trend that spread like wildfire last month, and a lot of people were swept along also. People have a hard time resisting those vanity apps, especially ones that make you look like a character out of a game or fantasy film.  

Each picture is basically a machine-generated image of the face in the submitted photos – you have to upload your pictures to get your AI photo. While many apps are capable of doing this, one stands above the others – Lensa AI. 

According to Statista, Lensa AI got more than 5.8 million downloads in just the first week of December due to specific TikTok videos and trends. What's more, the service is paid for. Users can submit up to twenty (20) photos and get fifty artistic renders for the cost of $4. 

However, while Lensa AI is great in the production of AI pictures, there are some controversies surrounding Lensa AI and other image-editing apps' data privacy. Read on to learn about these controversies and the data privacy risks involved with using these apps. 

What is Lensa AI and How Can I Get It?

Lensa AI is, at its core, a simple image editing app. Like many other apps, you can get it on the App Store (for iPhones) and Google Play (for Android phones). While it commands so much interest and attention now, it is not a new app. It has been around since 2018, according to the app manufacturer Prisma Labs, and has had millions of users before now.

However, with the app's introduction of the Magic Avatar feature in late November, many people, including celebrities, jumped on the AI-generated image bandwagon. After all, this was a good way for many people to visualize themselves in various occupations and forms, ranging from fairies to astronauts to cyborgs and even anime characters. 

What makes this possible is the integration of Stable Diffusion, a deep learning AI tool that interprets texts to create images. Stable Diffusion is open source, meaning it is available for free use. It was in the use of this app that many concerns grew, as critics began to find issues with the use of the images, and rightly so.

Data Privacy Concerns with Lensa AI

Many people submit their photos online without understanding the risks of an app like Lensa AI having access to these photos for a long period.

While Prisma Labs, in its privacy policy, affirms that all facial data uploaded in the app will be used only for stylized effects and filters, the terms and conditions of use say otherwise.

The app company restructured its terms and conditions on December 15, 2022, to help its users and customers better understand the app requirements and provide reassurance and clarity about what it does. The statement says, "both the terms of use and privacy policy have been updated on December 15, 2022, to help their customers understand it better."

While the company also affirms that the images uploaded are exclusively and solely to produce their avatars, it must be mentioned that Prisma Labs also offers their data to many cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. However, Prisma Labs claims that all user data deletes automatically within 24 hours after Lensa is done creating the images.

Before December 15, 2022, critics had noticed a loophole in one of the terms of use. The term stated that using the app "grants Prisma Labs a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, and distribute derivative works of uploaded user content."

In other words, Prisma Labs can use or transfer your data to another company without your permission. In this age of complex hacking, some photos may be used to commit crimes without your permission.

It was after people discovered this that Prisma Labs came out to change their terms of use, replacing the words "irrevocable" and "perpetual" with "revocable" and "time-limited" to sound more agreeable.

There are too many consequences to mention right now, but one thing is for sure; if your data has ever been on Lensa, anything can happen. One example is that user data could be used for malicious activities that involve facial recognition software.

However, in all truth, users are to blame. People rarely read fine print anymore; they click and accept to begin using without reading what they consent to. As a result, due diligence is vital for using apps of this nature. While this is not new, as popular social media platforms like Meta and Instagram already house a lot of data, especially pictures, one cannot honestly say if that data has always been safe.

So, next time you want to sign up on an AI-generated platform, remember to read the terms and conditions.

Digital Crisis Can Help You Increase Your Business' Data Privacy Levels

At Digital Crisis, we help businesses increase their cyber security levels and reduce the probability of getting hacked successfully. We also offer 24/7 managed IT services to ensure your business never has a timeout. 

Contact us today to get started.

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