Teen Sues Apple for $1 Billion Over False Arrest
Ousmane Bah alleges Apple linked his face to that of a thief who’d stolen his ID.
2 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag
Apple is facing a billion dollar lawsuit thanks to the facial recognition software used in its stores to track individuals it suspects of theft.
As the New York Post reports, on May 31 last year $1,200 worth of merchandise was stolen from an Apple store in Boston. The thief apparently used a stolen ID to identify himself in the store, with that ID actually belonging to 18-year-old Ousmane Bah. The ID did not include a photo, but listed all of his personal details. The thief then went on to steal again at Apple stores in Delaware, Manhattan, and New Jersey.
In June, Bah received a Boston municipal court summons and then he was later arrested by the NYPD on Nov. 29. However, according to the lawsuit, the detective involved with the case realized Bah didn’t look like the thief when reviewing surveillance footage recorded at the Apple stores.
Bah believes that Apple decided to update the facial recognition software used in its stores to associate the thief’s face with his personal details. The knock-on effect of that being subsequent thefts were automatically blamed on Bah.
As Bloomberg explains, the $1 billion lawsuit Apple is facing is due to the “severe stress and hardship” Bah faced when dealing with multiple false allegations against him. As well as Apple, a company called Security Industry Specialists Inc. is listed in the lawsuit as a defendant.
All the charges against Bah have now been dropped except for those in New Jersey. This lawsuit isn’t going away, though, especially considering Bah claims to have been attending his senior prom when the Boston theft occurred. Apple may have to face some difficult questions regarding its use of facial recognition technology in stores as well as its manipulation of the data that system collects.