Ousmane Bah, a student from New York, is suing Apple after being falsely identified and arrested for robbery using the company's facial recognition software.
Bah, 18, filed the $1 billion lawsuit against the company on Monday, April 22.
Bah Vs. Apple
In the lawsuit, the teenager claims that the software incorrectly identified him as the robber in multiple thefts in Apple Stores across several states, according to a report from The Verge. A photo was reportedly a part of the warrant that was used to arrest Bah who vehemently denies that it was him in the image.
It was NYPD detective John Reinhold who noticed that Bah did not resemble the person caught in the surveillance camera at the Manhattan Apple Store. Reinhold went on to explain in the lawsuit that Apple uses facial recognition technology to identify suspects of theft.
A representative from Apple told The Verge that the company doesn't actually have facial recognition technology in their stores.
Reinhold, in his own conversation with The Verge, confirms that Apple Stores do not technically have facial recognition technology in their stores. However, he adds that his previous statement is still correct, declining any further statements.
Security Industry Specialists, the second defendant in Bah's lawsuit, could potentially be the key in understanding what happened. While the company doesn't explicitly state Apple as a client, the two have a long working relationship. SIS could have been the firm that analyzed the security footage and used facial recognition software to identify Bah.
Bah was allegedly shown a police report stating an SIS loss prevention employee caught him stealing Apple Pencils in security footage from an Apple Store in Boston.
According to New York Post, the thief in Boston stole $1,200 worth of merchandise from the store on May 31, 2018. The same person proceeded to steal more products in Apple Stores in Delaware, Manhattan, and New Jersey.
Bah was arrested by the NYPD for the string of robberies on Nov. 29, 2018.
The student denies the allegations, saying that he was at his senior prom in Manhattan at the time of the robbery. However, he points out that he lost his learner's permit, which could have been used by the actual thief, although the permit did not have a photo.
The lawsuit claims that both Apple and SIS participated in wrongful actions that led to emotional distress, defamation, and slander, among others.
Charges against Bah have been dropped everywhere except New Jersey, where a case is still pending.