Sources indicate Apple plans to acquire Brighter AI, a German AI startup specializing in anonymizing face and license plate data. Apple aims to use this acquisition to enhance privacy features on Apple Vision Pro, 9to5Mac is told. Apple may be considering Brighter AI’s technology to minimize the risk of Apple Vision Pro capturing identifiable information in videos or photos taken in public.
Vision Pro privacy
Capturing footage with an iPhone typically does not involve these concerns. Apple Vision Pro might raise issues, however, because it can shoot video more discreetly than smart phones.
This technology could also benefit future devices that make photo and video capture even less noticeable. Vision Pro does include a subtle visual cue on the front panel when capturing media.
Apple and blurring
Apple already employs technology to blur faces and license plates in Apple Maps imagery. According to Apple’s image collection policy for Maps, the company applies image blurring technology before publishing any imagery to protect the privacy of individuals captured during the mapping process.
Apple undertook a year-long series of test drives across the US and Europe in 2015 to refine its image blurring technology. The company did not release the collected imagery but used it to enhance its blurring techniques for faces and license plates.
What Brighter AI has to offer
The acquisition of Brighter AI holds particular interest because the company offers advanced AI technology for anonymizing data without blurring. Brighter AI’s method changes images so subjects remain unrecognizable, yet retains their natural look.
Instead, Brighter AI is able to alter images in such a way that subjects are no longer identifiable. It does this in such a way that natural appearances are preserved.
Brighter AI’s Deep Natural Anonymization 2.0 technology promises wide application across various products. Apple could extend its use beyond Apple Vision Pro and Apple Maps.
Founded in 2017, Brighter AI last received investor funding in February 2023.
Apple’s pursuit of more effective personal data protection while maintaining image quality reflects its core values. 9to5Mac has contacted both companies for further details.
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