SAN FRANCISCO — Digital rights experts warned that Americans using a hot new phone app to make themselves resemble a popular computer generated ogre may be unwittingly building a database of dangerous information.
“The collection of facial data via the Shrek Yourself application is worrying on its own,” explained Dustin Mayhoff, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “But the terms of service also give Dreamworks the right to sell any collected information including but not limited to your name, age, address, and whether you’re more of a Donkey or more of a Dragon.”
Shrek Yourself, developed in partnership with Dreamworks by the MagicMechanics digital agency as early promotion for an upcoming fifth Shrek film, prompts users to “Say Donkeh!” and snap a selfie transformed by facial recognition into a Shrek-like green ogre with trumpet-like ears and linen attire.
“Shrek Yourself could be a nuclear-level privacy breach in the making,” warned Mayhoff. “Image data may be sold to law enforcement or military agents to better target Americans via facial recognition AI or Shrek-based propaganda. And the mind races at the prospect of rounding up citizens who desire to look like Shrek or his bride Fiona for some unsavory government research. We’re living in the future, and the future is terrifying.”
The app’s developers were quick to counter any criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Said MagicMechanics CEO Ellen Angelopoulos during an open conference call, “I assure you everything in the app is above board. We aren’t tracking on your location, for instance. We only get phone permissions we need such as camera access, internet, file storage, contacts, checking ongoing phone calls, recording microphone audio, clipboard data, and the accelerometer. Just basic stuff like that.”
“These [privacy advocates] need to stop being such Farquads,” Angelopoulos mumbled before hanging up.
While calls for regulation have gained grassroots traction online, all congressional interest in investigating the Shrek Yourself app instantly faded upon learning the app was based in America.
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