A New York teenager is suing tech giant Apple for $1 billion, claiming that the company’s facial recognition software led to him being falsely arrested.
Business Insider reports that 18-year-old Ousmane Bah, a teenager from New York, was arrested at his home in November and charged with stealing from an Apple Store in Boston, however, Bah claims that he was at his senior prom in Manhattan on the day of the alleged thefts.
Bah claims that the “traumatic” wrongful arrest was due to misidentification by Apple’s facial recognition software. Bah was still a high school student when he received a summons from a Boston court which claimed that he stole $1,200 worth of Apple hardware from an Apple store in Boston.
Bah was later accused of also stealing from other Apple Stores in New Jersey, Delaware, and New York City. According to the police filing from Bah’s arrest, the police warrant for his arrest featured a photo of a suspect who did not resemble Bah but police continued to carry out the arrest. It wasn’t until an NYPD detective viewed the surveillance footage from the Apple Store and remarked that the suspect looked “nothing like” Bah that the NYPD realized they had the wrong man.
The detective told Bah that the issue may be to do with Apple’s security technology which “identifies suspects of theft using facial recognition technology.” The suit states: “This fact is concerning, particularly in light of the fact consumers are not generally aware of Defendant’s [Apple’s] use of facial recognition technology within its security system. Presumably, Defendant’s [Apple’s] security system scans consumers’ faces to look for matches on a list of suspects.”
The detective on the case suspects that the real thief in the situation could have used Bah’s driver’s license, which he recently lost, as ID during one fo the offenses which may have linked Bah to the crimes. Apple and Security Industry Specialists Inc. did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.