I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m rather fond of the Meitu app. It’s a frothy little photography app that applies all manner of cute, anime-like filters to your photos, turning ordinary shots of your and your friends (or any celebrity or historical figure you care to choose) into petal and makeup-laden manga characters.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what it did a shot of my from my recent trip to CES…
The app is climbing the charts, with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all lousy with suddenly cute-ified portraiture. But there’s a dark side to all this fun – it’s apparently a security disaster waiting to happen.
According to CNET, the app asks for much more access to your smartphone than a photo app might need – like being able to auto-run at startup, check your location, and even make phone calls.
Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski says the iPhone versions goes even further, wanting to check on your cellular carrier, and even your MAC address. His belief is that it’s a marketing and analytics package pretending to be something much more fun.
And all the data it collects is going back to servers in China, according to this Twitter security expert. Of course, how that’s all that different from the amount of data Facebook gathers on its users, I’m not so sure. More than one observer has pointed out that it’s not so much the data, as where it’s being sent, is the issue, which is more than a little problematic.
All I can say is… I was really enjoying putting the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation into the app. For… reasons.