An iPhone app built by controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI has been blocked by Apple as it violated the terms of the company’s enterprise developer program. Clearview AI scrapes public photos from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among others.
The app allows its users — which the company claims it serves only law enforcement officers — to use their phone camera or upload a photo to search its database of 3 billion photos. But BuzzFeed News revealed that the company — which claims to only cater to law enforcement users — also includes many private-sector users, including Macy’s, Walmart and Wells Fargo.
Apple maintains a strict set of rules on use of enterprise certificates, and says they cannot be used by consumers. But there have been cases of abuse.
Last year, TechCrunch exclusively reported that both Facebook and Google were using their enterprise certificates for consumer-facing apps in an effort to bypass Apple’s App Store. Apple revoked the tech giants’ enterprise certificates, disabling the infracting app but also any other app that relied on the certificate, including their catering and lunch menu apps.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, this is a good move on Apple’s part.
A facial-recognition company that contracts with powerful law-enforcement agencies just reported that an intruder stole its entire client list, according to a notification the company sent to its customers.
In the notification, which The Daily Beast reviewed, the startup Clearview AI disclosed to its customers that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of customers, to the number of user accounts those customers had set up, and to the number of searches its customers have conducted. The notification said the company’s servers were not breached and that there was “no compromise of Clearview’s systems or network.”
MacDailyNews Take: The facial recognition genie is out of the bottle and is very unlikely to be stuffed back in.