An American teenager is suing Apple for $1 billion. He claims that the company’s use of facial recognition led to his wrongful arrest.
Ousmane Bah, an 18-year-old university student from New York, said he faced arrest at his home in November 2018. He filed a claim against Apple and security firm Security Industry Specialists on Monday, 22nd April 2019.
At the time of Bah’s arrest, he was still a high school student. He received a court summon that claimed that he had stolen $1,200 worth of Apple products from the Apple Store in the US City, Boston.
Bah said he had never been to Boston and was attending his senior prom in another city, Manhattan, the day theft took place. He was also later accused of additional theft from Apple Stores in New Jersey, Delaware and New York City.
In November 2018, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested Bah in his home for stealing suspicions from the Manhattan store. It didn’t matter that the police warrant had the photo of a suspect that did not resemble Bah.
An NYPD detective later realised Bah’s wrongful arrest when surveillance footage from the store revealed the suspect did not look like Bah. The detective then went on to admit to Bah that the problem was with Apple’s facial recognition technology. He explained that he suspected the real thief may have used Bah’s interim driving licence which may have linked him to the crime.
It is unclear how Apple deploys the facial recognition security. Regardless, the feature is a major sell for the company’s most recent gadgets.
This already seems like a major con for the technology which is about to go mainstream.
An Apple spokesperson has since responded that the company does not use facial recognition in its stores.