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Apple blocks Clearview AI's iPhone app

The app violated Apple's enterprise testing rules.
Devindra Hardawar, @devindra
February 28, 2020
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Sompong Rattanakunchon via Getty Images

Won't someone just let Clearview AI invade our privacy in peace? After having its full client list stolen and leaked on the internet, the controversial facial recognition startup is now in hot water with Apple. The iPhone maker has blocked Clearview's iPhone app over violating the rules of its enterprise software program, TechCrunch reports. Clearview was relying on an enterprise certificate to let users install its software outside of the App Store, but that goes against Apple's rules, which limits certificate access to people within a company.

If this situation sounds familiar, it's because Apple also blocked certificates from Facebook and Google for unauthorized app distribution. In those cases, though, Apple's move also killed internal apps that both companies relied on. With Clearview's situation, its core app, which is used by customers for its advanced facial recognition tool, is now inaccessible to iPhone users.

Just like how Gizmodo discovered Clearview's Android app, TechCrunch says it discovered the iOS version on a public Amazon S3 storage share. While neither site was actually able to log into the apps -- they still require an active username and password for Clearview's service -- the fact that they were so easily accessible doesn't instill much confidence. Then again, we already had our doubts after Clearview's massive client list breach.

The company's CEO, Hoan Ton-That, told TechCrunch: "We are in contact with Apple and working on complying with their terms and conditions."

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