Has Apple bought facial recognition firm Polar Rose?

Apple is rumoured to have bought a facial recognition company.

facial recognition

Facial recognition could be a feature of future iPhones if rumours of Apple's acquisition of Swedish specialist Polar Rose are proved to be true.

Rapidus, a Scandanavian business news service, first reported the merger but neither Apple nor Polar Rose, and its principal shareholders Nordic Venture Partners, have confirmed the deal.

Apple has not denied the rumour but has said that it buys smaller companies from time to time and reserves its right not to comment on specific acquisitions.

Until recently, Polar Rose offered its online services free as an adjunct to image storage site Flickr and Facebook, and within browsers. Just last month the company withdrew explaining that its focus had shifted to the licensing business.

Polar Rose has two products of interest to Apple. FaceLib which adds recognition to mobile devices and Face Cloud which does the same as a server-based online service.

Facial recognition is expected to be a feature of future smartphones and apps but it may run foul of privacy activists and national laws. Tom Gaffney, a UK security advisor for F-Secure, has been widely reported slamming face recognition applications as a "stalker's dream".

A less controversial use would be to apply the software to automatically tag images taken with the iPhone's camera. Tagging is a laborious task and an ideal candidate for automation. Combined with geolocation and time stamping, facial recognition would provide quite a detailed record for each picture taken.

Earlier tests of similar software has given it a less-than-great reputation. A test on workers at Tampa airport, for example, only correctly identified individuals 53 per cent of the time.

Featured Resources

How to choose an AI vendor

Five key things to look for in an AI vendor

Download now

The UK 2020 Databerg report

Cloud adoption trends in the UK and recommendations for cloud migration

Download now

2021 state of email security report: Ransomware on the rise

Securing the enterprise in the COVID world

Download now

The impact of AWS in the UK

How AWS is powering Britain's fastest-growing companies

Download now

Recommended

Apple doubles down in the US with $430 billion investment
business intelligence (BI)

Apple doubles down in the US with $430 billion investment

27 Apr 2021
Apple patches iOS 12 after hackers exploit WebKit Engine flaws
zero-day exploit

Apple patches iOS 12 after hackers exploit WebKit Engine flaws

15 Jun 2021
Apple fixes three macOS flaws under active attack
malware

Apple fixes three macOS flaws under active attack

25 May 2021
iPhone 12 mini review: Mini phone, major fun
Mobile Phones

iPhone 12 mini review: Mini phone, major fun

14 May 2021

Most Popular

GitHub to prohibit code that’s used in active attacks
cyber security

GitHub to prohibit code that’s used in active attacks

7 Jun 2021
WWDC 2021: Apple unveils iOS 15, macOS Monterey and more
iOS

WWDC 2021: Apple unveils iOS 15, macOS Monterey and more

8 Jun 2021
OnePlus 9 Pro review: An instant cult classic
Hardware

OnePlus 9 Pro review: An instant cult classic

7 Jun 2021