Published: Tue, April 23, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Teen hits Apple with $1B lawsuit over facial recognition arrest

Teen hits Apple with $1B lawsuit over facial recognition arrest

Ousmane Bah, 18, was arrested from his home in NY in November a year ago. The thief apparently used a stolen ID to identify himself in the store, with that ID actually belonging to 18-year-old Ousmane Bah.

The lawsuit seeks damages of $1 billion, a declaration that Apple "wrongfully and baselessly damaged" Bah's reputation, and a court order compelling Apple to "address the mistake in the stored data" that links Bah's identifying information to the company's facial recognition technology.

While the motivation behind this alleged act is questionable, Apple has repeatedly walked a fine moral line with the use of facial recognition technology in its stores.

In the suit, Bah claims when police showed up at his home to arrest him, the photo attached to the arrest warrant didn't look like him at all. He claims that a theft in Boston could not have included him, since it took place while he was attending his senior prom.

In a case of apparently mistaken identity, a student has made a decision to sue Apple for $1 billion after the firm's facial recognition technology pointed the finger at him for a number of thefts at Apple stores.

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If it is found that Bah was not complicit in any the thefts - including the outstanding case - he may be due to some form of compensation for the case of mistaken identity.

An investigator examined surveillance footage obtained by the Manhattan store and concluded that the suspect did not resemble the student at all, the lawsuit says.

"He was forced to respond to multiple false allegations which led to severe stress and hardship", Bah said in the complaint.

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", the lawsuit states.

The New York Post writes that charges against Bah have been dropped in every state except New Jersey, where the case is still pending.

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