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Apple’s image recognition is categorising explicit images with “bra” tag

Last year, Apple introduced image recognition AI in with its iOS 10 in an attempt to make it easier for snap-happy aficionados to find specific photos. This technology was met with controversy yesterday, after a twitter user discovered that searching for “brassiere” prompted the iPhone’s Photo app to collect explicit images from its user.

Image recognition AI works by detecting items, scenes, places, people and their facial expressions and allocates a tag that allows users to search through their photos by using a keyword. Overall, there are 4432 automatic tags that the iPhone uses, all of which have been known and listed since its release.

Among the categories detailed by Medium last year, three are dedicated to women’s undergarments: “brassiere,” “bra” and “bras,” while no men’s clothing had specifically been singled out. It is also worth noting that other terms for clothing do appear, such as “Apparel,” “Attire,” “Dress,” “Frock,” “Garb,” and their plurals, alongside “Clothes.”

While @ellieeewbu’s tweet highlights how Apple’s image recognition AI works via saving the photos and subsequent tags, users can rest assured that it does not move the image from the local place it is originally saved. Apple do not implement servers like its competitors, meaning that user images are solely on the one device. It does, however, allow for the user to quickly gather up one type of image via keywords, which the user interface can present as a unique space similar to a new folder.

Unfortunately for iPhone users, there is currently no way to turn this off, however there are apps that can potentially help lock away explicit photos from those searches into a new, safer folder. The upcoming Nude app will be available for both iOS and Android, which will utilise the same image recognition AI to identify explicit images and automatically lock them away from prying eyes.

KitGuru Says: These tags are likely born from the perception that women enjoy clothes shopping more than men, which by today’s standards is possibly a misconception. Unfortunately, those of you out there that don’t like this functionality will have to take extra care when snapping photos in the future.  

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