WTF?! Apple gets sued quite often, but the latest lawsuit it’s facing is a little different from those brought by the usual patent trolls and tech rivals. An 18-year-old student is suing the iPhone maker for $1 billion, claiming its in-store facial-recognition systems led to his false arrest.
NYPD officers arrested Ousmane Bah on November 29th and charged him with stealing equipment from Apple stores in Boston, New Jersey, Delaware, and Manhattan.
The suit claims that the arrest warrant included a photo that didn't resemble Bah, and that the Boston theft, in which $1,200 worth of goods were stolen, took place on the same day in June that he was attending his senior prom in Manhattan. Additionally, a detective who examined the stores’ surveillance footage concluded that Bah “looked nothing like” the thief.
Bah says the error was the result of the real perpetrator using a stolen or lost ID that had his name, address, and other information, but no photo. The lawsuit claims the Apple Store’s facial-recognition system linked Bah’s information with the real thief’s face.
"He was forced to respond to multiple false allegations which led to severe stress and hardship,” said the complaint.
Both Apple and security firm Security Industry Specialists, which is also named as a defendant, have refused to comment on the case.
The New York Post writes that charges against Bah have been dropped in every state except New Jersey, where the case is still pending. The publication notes how the lawsuit argues 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."