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EPIK: The AI that Transforms Photos into 90s Students and Jeopardizes Security
In recent days, you’ve likely seen acquaintances or celebrities sporting a look straight out of an American yearbook from the 1990s. All thanks to EPIK, the trendy app that turns current photos into authentic retro gems.
EPIK The Sensation of the Moment:
Developed by the South Korean company Snow, EPIK has become a global phenomenon with 92.3 million downloads since its launch in August 2021. Initially popular in Asia, it’s now captivating users in the United States and Europe.
The #YearBookChallenge on TikTok:
The viral trend known as the #YearBookChallenge on TikTok has further boosted its popularity, with participation from celebrities like Chanel, Laura Escanes, and Lola Índigo.
Privacy Under Debate:
However, this success has reopened the debate on the security of these artificial intelligence-based tools and their implications for user privacy.
Fun Comes at a Cost:
EPIK offers the opportunity to relive the ’90s fashion, dressing subjects in light blue backgrounds, cheerleader outfits, or typical basketball uniforms of the era. Yet, the fun comes at a price, as the app requires a payment for access to desired effects within 24 hours or even just two hours.
EPIK’s operation involves users providing 8 to 12 selfies for the artificial intelligence to work its magic. However, this apparent fun raises serious concerns about security and privacy.
Headquartered Outside the European Union:
The company’s headquarters are outside the European Union, making it challenging to enforce EU data protection legislation.
Expert Warning Digital communication expert Borja Adsuara warns about the risks associated with the app concerning privacy. Besides concerns about facial images, Adsuara notes that EPIK collects information from the mobile device even when the app is running in the background, raising additional privacy concerns.
Despite these risks, EPIK’s popularity and appealing visual results have led many to accept these terms without fully evaluating the implications for their privacy. It’s crucial to be aware of these risks before diving into the retro trend of EPIK.
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