Teen Suing Apple Claims Facial Recognition Software Led to False Arrest

The 18-year-old filed a $1 billion suit against the tech giant

apple lawsuit
The Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

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When it comes to theft, Apple takes its suspects at face value.

An 18-year-old from New York filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the tech giant, claiming Apple’s facial-recognition software was used to frame him for theft, the New York Post reported.

The teen, Ousmane Bah, was arrested in November for a series of Apple store robberies that took place in Boston, New Jersey, Delaware and Manhattan. However, Bah claims the real perpetrator used a stolen ID that featured Bah’s personal information, but not his photo. The perpetrator allegedly programmed security systems to recognize his own face as Bah’s.

According to court papers, the teen only learned of the situation when he received a Boston municipal court summons in June, after the perpetrator was caught stealing $1,200 worth of merchandise from a Boston Apple store on May 31, 2018.

A detective working the case later reviewed surveillance footage and determined that the suspect “looked nothing like” Bah, according to the lawsuit. Moreover, the teen was reportedly attending his senior prom in Manhattan when the Boston theft took place.

Charges against Bah have been dropped in every state with the exception of New Jersey, where the case is still pending.

Bah’s lawsuit alleges Apple’s facial recognition technology poses a threat to consumers and as well as a violation of privacy. The suit claims the tech giant’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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