TORONTO – Microsoft’s How-Old.net tool, which guesses the user’s age based on a photo of their face, became an overnight sensation last week. But upon closer inspection of the website’s Terms of Service, some users raised concerns about whether their photos were being saved by the software giant.
Some users noticed that the Terms of Service for How-Old.net was worded differently than the disclaimer on the home page of the website, which reads “P.S. We don’t keep the photo.”
Following a statement that reads, “Microsoft does not claim ownership of any materials you provide,” the fine print reads:
“By posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.”
Some users thought that meant that by uploading a selfie to How-Old.net, they were granting Microsoft permission to use their photos on its website and in ads.
But Microsoft denied that How-Old.net stores users’ photos.
“No we don’t store photos, we don’t share them and we only use them to guess your age and gender. The photos are discarded from memory once we guess,” read a statement posted to the How-Old.net website.
“While we use the terms of service very common in our industry, and similar to most other online services, we have chosen not to store or use the photos in any way other than to temporarily process them to guess your age.”
So rest assured that any embarrassing selfies you upload to the site in the hopes to trick it into looking younger – or older – will not be held in Microsoft’s database.
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