Clearview Scrutiny Mounts As Apple Blocks App


Apple became the second major tech player in recent weeks to question the approach taken by facial recognition software developer Clearview, revealing it blocked the company’s developer account from its App Store for breaching distribution policies by enabling external downloads by third parties.

BuzzFeed News reported the US-based AI company encouraged public and private companies to download its app from the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, which is reserved for developers only, and broke Apple’s policy which states organisations “may not use, distribute or otherwise make your internal use applications available to any third parties in any way”.

Clearview, which is said to provide access to its app to law enforcement users only, reportedly also allowed its facial recognition service to be used by employees at retail companies, banks and private investigation companies.

BuzzFeed News stated the app had been used by 2,200 public and private companies, including the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), department store chain Macy’s and retail company Walmart.

An Apple representative told the media outlet companies which break its distribution policies were subject to account revocation, and Clearview had 14 days to respond to its claim.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That said searching within its face recognition app could not be done without proper authorisation and credentials, adding Clearview was working on complying with Apple’s terms and conditions.

Apple’s move followed scrutiny by Twitter in late January, with the social media company requesting Clearview stop collecting user data and delete all content derived from its platform, after judging the AI company to have violated its policies by using users’ photos for surveillance.-Mobile World Live

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