Apple Inc 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.
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.
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.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (left) said he got 10 times the credit limit his wife was offered with the company’s new credit card. He is pictured with his wife Janet Hill in 2018
Hansson said the card offered him a credit limit 20 times greater than it gave to his wife, even though she has a higher credit score. He called the algorithm a sexist program and Wozniak said ‘the same thing happened to us’
The card is being investigated following a series of viral tweets by entrepreneur and web developer David Heinemeier Hansson about algorithms used for the Apple Card, which Goldman Sachs manages in partnership with Apple
Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs Group Inc to launch the much anticipated titanium credit card in August.
Apple introduced the Apple Card earlier this year in a partnership with Goldman Sachs. A press release announcing the card called Goldman Sachs ‘a newcomer to consumer financial services’ that was ‘creating a different credit card experience.’ It pledged not to share or sell information to other parties for marketing and advertising.
‘Simplicity, transparency and privacy are at the core of our consumer product development philosophy,’ said Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David M. Solomon.
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.
In several tweets that were often liked thousands of times and frequently retweeted, Hansson wrote that they have been married a long time and live in a community-property state.
He tweeted that appeals when she got a far lower credit limit fell on deaf ears.
Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, speaks about the Apple Card at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif. A spokeswoman for the New York Department of Financial Services confirmed that they are investigating Goldman Sachs for possible sex discrimination in the way it sets credit limits
Goldman Sachs spokesman said the bank could not comment on decisions about individual customers but said ‘credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness’ not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation
When Apple Card finally raised her credit limit without addressing the scoring system, he tweeted, it was essentially trying to ‘bribe one loud mouth on Twitter, then we don’t have to actually examine our faulty faith in THE ALGORITHM.’
‘Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law,’ said Goldman Sachs spokesman Andrew Williams.
He added that the bank could not comment on decisions about individual customers.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
‘We know the question of discrimination in algorithmic decisioning also extends to other areas of financial services,’ Lacewell added.
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