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New York teen, 18, sues Apple for $1billion

April 25, 2019

… after its ‘Orwellian’ facial recognition surveillance ‘wrongly blamed him for stealing from three locations across the country’


Ousmane Bah, 18, is suing Apple for a whopping $1billion, claiming he was falsely arrested and charged for a series of thefts due to Apple’s facial-recognition software (file photo)

An 18-year-old is suing Apple for a whopping $1billion, claiming he was falsely arrested and charged for a series of thefts due to Apple’s facial-recognition software.

Ousmane Bah was arrested at his New York home in November at 4am and charged for stealing from Apple stores in Manhattan, Boston, New Jersey, and Delaware.

But the photo included with the arrest warrant showed a man that ‘looked nothing like’ the college student.

And one of the thefts, in Boston, had occurred on the same day that Bah was in Manhattan for his senior prom.

Bah had previously lost a learner’s permit, which had his name, address, and other personal information but did not include a photo. The permit also stated that it was ‘not meant for identification purposes’.

He believes the thief found or stole the permit and then used it as his own identification in Apple stores.

The thief was first caught stealing $1,200 worth of products from an Apple store in Boston on May 31, 2018.

The thief then stole from Apple stores in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Delaware, all the while being tracked by the company’s software.

Bah said he only learned about the thefts when he received a Boston municipal court summons in June. He was then arrested by the New York Police Department on November 29.

A NYPD detective who was assigned to the case examined surveillance footage from the Manhattan store and found that the suspect ‘looked nothing like’ Bah.

The detective found that Apple’s security technology identified suspects of theft ‘using facial recognition technology’, according to the lawsuit.

He suspected that the thief had presented Bah’s learner’s permit as identification during one of his multiple thefts against Apple.

Bah said he was forced to respond to multiple false allegations, which led to ‘severe stress and hardship’ and left him ‘feeling humiliated, afraid, and deeply concerned’.

‘[Apple’s] use of facial recognition software in its stores to track individuals suspected of theft is the type of Orwellian surveillance that consumes 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.

Charges against Bah have been dropped in every state except New Jersey, where his case is still pending.

Apple told it cannot comment on legal matters but does not use facial recognition technology in its stores.


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