An 18-year-old New Yorker filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Apple on Monday, claiming that facial recognition software incorrectly linked him to thefts at several stores.

Ousmane Bah was arrested by New York Police Department officers on Nov. 29 after being accused of thefts at Apple Stores in Manhattan, Boston, New Jersey and Delaware, according to his lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the actual thief was caught stealing $1,200 worth of merchandise — specifically Apple Pencils– from the Boston store on May 31, 2018. The person then used a stolen ID that included Bahs name, address and other personal details, but not his photo, according to the suit. This may actually have been a non-photo learners permit that Bah previously lost, the suit says. Bah is African American.

The lawsuit accuses Apple of negligence, emotional distress, defamation, slander, libel and fraudulent concealment.

The alleged use of facial recognition software in Apple Stores 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 suit says.

Apple doesn’t comment on legal matters, but said Tuesday that it doesn’t use facial recognition technology in its stores.

Bahs first indication of a problem was a Boston municipal court summons for June 2018, his suit says, though he had’nt been to the city before and was attending his senior prom in Manhattan on the day of the theft.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that Apple connected Bahs name to the thief face in its facial recognition system, which Bah claims is used at Apple Stores to track people suspected of theft. This resulted in Bah being blamed for theft across the four states, the suit says.

A New York Police Department detective who saw security footage from the Manhattan store after Bahs arrest realized the suspect “looked nothing like” Bah, according to the lawsuit.

All charges have since been dismissed, except in New Jersey, according to the lawsuit.

According to the suit, Bah has been struggling in his first year in college while he has been fighting the charges.

“As a result of being arrested in New York, as well as having to make trips to different states in response to charges filed against him, Mr. Bahs attendance and grades suffered,” the lawsuit says. “Additionally, he suffered constant anxiety over the possibility of being arrested at any time for crimes he did not commit, and of which he had no knowledge.”


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.