Apple Sued For $1B By Student Claiming Facial Recognition Led To False Arrest

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Apple's facial recognition technology hasn't gone without its fair share of criticism. Privacy experts have shared their concerns about how these types of technological advancements will have negative consequences. Now, a student from New York has filed a lawsuit against the tech-giant, claiming Apple's facial recognition technology falsely ID'd him as the culprit behind a theft.

Apple Sued For $1B By Student Claiming Facial Recognition Led To False Arrest
David Paul Morris/Getty Images

18-year-old Ousmane Bah is suing Apple for $1B over a false arrest that he believes was made due to the facial recognition system. Bah was arrested by NYPD after he was falsely connected to thefts in New Jersey, Delaware, and Manhattan.

Bah claims that the perpetrator stole and used his ID after they were caught swiping $1,200 worth of merchandise from an Apple Store in Boston last May. The ID didn't show Bah's face but it did include his name, address and other personal information. The suit claims the thief then hit up stores in New Jersey, Delaware, and Manhattan which Bah was later falsely blamed for.

Bah believes that the Apple Store let the culprit slide before using their security system to detect the thief's ID which linked to Bah's face. He said that he learned about the confusion after he received a Boston municipal court summons in June. 

Bah was arrested on Nov. 29th by NYPD but a detective for the force reviewed surveillance footage from the Manhattan store and said that the suspect “looked nothing like” Bah. 

The lawsuit states that Apple'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."

However, a spokesperson from Apple said that the company doesn't use the facial recognition technology in its stores.