AI photo users deem personal data unworthy of protection.

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    Oct 25, 2023

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Hoai Anh quickly downloaded Zalo AI app upon seeing her friends share their AI-generated photos, confident her own pictures are already circulating.


Anh, a 25-year-old, shared that even before the AI craze took off in Vietnam, she and many of her friends on social media used applications to modify their photos before sharing them online. Consequently, Anh believes that various applications have already collected and utilized her photos for a while now. She remains unconcerned about how these parties would utilize her data.

She expressed her previous concerns about facial deep fakes, but after having shared her personal information with numerous applications over the years, she began to question whether her facial data could still be safeguarded online.

In the modern era, there has been a noticeable surge in AI-generative applications as a rapidly growing trend. A significant number of individuals are now utilizing these applications to generate their own personalized photos. However, it is concerning that in Vietnam, social media users have been sharing images produced by AI Avatar, an integral feature of the Zalo messaging app, seemingly without much consideration for the security of their personal data.

The AI Avatar seeks permission to access users' camera or photo albums, intending to request facial photos displaying distinct features. Additionally, users will be prompted to provide specific details including gender, age, and preferred photo style.

In Vietnam, AI technology is making significant strides in various applications beyond just AI Avatars. Lensa, Loopsie, and Reface are among the popular AI applications gaining traction in the country. Lensa, for instance, has garnered attention for its innovative approach to image editing. By utilizing AI algorithms, Lensa allows users to enhance and modify their photos effortlessly, resulting in visually stunning outcomes. Users can quickly adjust lighting, add filters, and make other edits with ease, revolutionizing the way people edit their pictures. Loopsie, another emerging AI application in Vietnam, offers a unique twist to video creation. Through advanced AI capabilities, Loopsie enables users to capture mesmerizing short video loops that convey a sense of motion within a still image. This novel feature has captured the imagination of many Vietnamese users, providing them with creative opportunities to showcase their artistic flair. Reface, on the other hand, has gained immense popularity due to its ability to seamlessly swap faces in photos and videos using AI technology. This entertaining application uses deep learning algorithms to analyze facial features and accurately map them onto different media. As a result, users can transform themselves into various characters or swap faces with friends, creating humorous and often hilarious content. These AI applications, including Lensa, Loopsie, and Reface, exemplify the growing interest and demand for AI technology in Vietnam. By offering innovative functionalities and user-friendly experiences, they contribute to the ever-expanding landscape of AI applications in the country.

According to a representative from a scam prevention initiative in Vietnam, not everyone pays close attention to the terms and conditions of various services.

"They mentioned that while users are welcome to utilize the app, it is essential for them to acknowledge and accept its terms. It should be noted that these terms may encompass certain provisions which could potentially put users at a disadvantage in the future."

According to Vu Ngoc Son, the technology director of the Vietnam National Cyber Security Technology Corporation, even though users may perceive uploading and downloading photos as simple tasks, they are not without risks. This is because when photos are uploaded, they are stored within the servers of service providers, which leaves them vulnerable to potential threats.

Son expressed concerns about the potential dangers of consolidating all photos in a single location, as it exposes individuals to the risk of being targeted by hackers. In the unfortunate event that these photos end up in the possession of unauthorized individuals, they could exploit the situation by utilizing deepfake technology to produce fabricated images and videos for deceptive activities such as scams.

With the rise in frequency of deepfakes circulating on the internet, experts consistently urge caution when it comes to sharing personal photos. However, despite such warnings, a significant number of individuals remain negligent about this concerning issue.

Nguyen Hung recently raised a thought-provoking question on a tech forum: with numerous apps already seeking permission to access users' photo libraries, would it truly make a difference if we tried to safeguard our privacy from just one app?

According to the representative of the anti-scamming project, the forum inquiry is deemed "partly accurate"; however, it highlights an evident disregard for one's personal data security.

They emphasized that adopting such a negligent mindset hinders one's ability to safeguard themselves online. The consequences of having your data exploited extend beyond the individual user; it affects their families, friends, and everyone within their social circle.

The following is a potential rewrite of the given content: According to the son, any data leaks you may have experienced in the past are no longer relevant and might not reflect the current situation accurately. Additionally, data obtained from third parties is considered less dependable and precise. Therefore, organizations seeking to capitalize on data will always prioritize obtaining the most up-to-date information directly.

Zalo has not yet offered any statement regarding the measures it takes to safeguard its users' data.

Experts advise individuals to share only essential information and thoroughly review service terms and conditions. When using photo editing applications, users should employ protective measures offered by their phone's operating systems, such as restricting complete access to their photo libraries.

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