Apple co-founder says Apple Card algorithm gave wife lower credit limit

Technology


(Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) co-founder Steve Wozniak joined in the online debate accusing the algorithm behind the iPhone maker’s credit card of discriminating by gender, deepening the scrutiny surrounding the newly launched Apple Card.

FILE PHOTO – Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, talks to people during a launch event in Cupertino, California, U.S., September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The criticism started on Thursday, after entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson railed against the Apple Card in a series of tweets, saying it gave him 20 times the credit limit that his wife received.

Hansson, who is the creator of web-application framework Ruby on Rails, did not disclose any specific income-related information for himself or his wife but tweeted that they filed joint tax returns and that his wife had a better credit score.

On Saturday, Wozniak chimed in, suggesting that a similar thing happened to him as he got 10 times more credit on this Apple Card compared with his wife.

“We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019,” Wozniak tweeted in reply to Hansson’s original tweet.

New York’s Department of Financial Services said it is opening a probe into Goldman Sachs credit card practices.

“New York law prohibits discrimination against protected classes of individuals, which means an algorithm, as with any other method of determining creditworthiness, cannot result in disparate treatment for individuals based on age, creed, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or other protected characteristics,” Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, wrote in a blog post. (bit.ly/2Ny1TUA)

“We know the question of discrimination in algorithmic decisioning also extends to other areas of financial services,” Lacewell added.

Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to launch the much anticipated titanium credit card in August.

Apple and Goldman Sachs were not immediately available to comment.

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru. Editing by Gerry Doyle



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