A $1 billion lawsuit has been filed against Apple by 18 year-old Ousmane Ba in New York who claims that the company’s facial recognition resulted in his false arrest. He says that Apple’s facial recognition technology blamed him wrongly for stealing merchandise from the company’s retail stores.
Bah claims in documents filed in a Manhattan federal court that someone used a stolen ID to impersonate him when they were caught stealing $1,200 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Boston last year. The ID had his address, name, and other personal information but no photo. Bah claims that Apple believed the stolen information to be true and then programmed its facial recognition systems to recognize that man’s face as Bah’s.
The same thief then looted Apple stores in Delaware, New Jersey, and Manhattan and Bah was blamed for all of these incidents. He only learned about it when a Boston municipal court summons was delivered to him. He was arrested by the NYPD in November last year but the detective who worked the case reviewed the surveillance footage from the Manhattan store and found out that the suspect in the video “looked nothing like” Bah, according to his lawsuit. Charges against Bah have been dropped in all states other than New Jersey as the case is still pending there.
He has thus filed a lawsuit against Apple for $1 billion, which says that the company’s “use of facial recognition software in its stores to track individuals suspected of theft is the type of Orwellian surveillance that consumers fear, particularly as it can be assumed that the majority of consumers are not aware that their faces are secretly being analyzed.”
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