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Apple blocks Clearview AI facial recognition app for violating App Store policies

Facial recognition
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple has suspended the developer account of Clearview AI for violating its enterprise developer program policies.

The company was reportedly sidestepping App Store guidelines to offer various government and private entities, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the FBI, as well as consumer-facing customers such as Macy’s, Walmart, and the NBA, a preview of its software using a program meant only for developers.

According to Apple, its developer program can be used to share the applications internally. Applications hosted on the developer platform cannot be publicly distributed. It bans the companies that are found violating these policies.

Flouting policies

An Apple spokesperson confirmed that Clearview AI has 14 days to respond to the allegations.

However Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That said, “We are in contact with Apple and working on complying with their terms and conditions. The app cannot be used without a valid Clearview account. A user can download the app, but not perform any searches without proper authorization and credentials.”

Reprts claimed that it was able to find Clearview AI’s iPhone application hosted on a web page accessible to the public. The web page provides a quick guide about how to authorize the app and use it on an iPhone.

Another report revealed that police officers, bank employees, retailers and private investigation teams could use the application after being able to sign up. It also claimed that the app was not limited to iPhone, with Android phones and desktop users able to access with the help of downloadable software.

Clearview AI has been under increased scrutiny after it was found to be scrapping the internet and collecting over three billion images from various social media sites, with Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube among those to have already asked the company to stop misusing their services.

Last week, the company revealed it had suffered a breach that exposed its entire client list which includes various law enforcement agencies like police, FBI and DHS.

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Via: Buzzfeed| TechCrunch