A New York man filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Apple, claiming the tech giant’s facial-recognition software wrongly blamed him for stealing from Apple stores.
Ousmane Bah, 18, claims someone used a stolen ID to pass themselves off as him when they were busted stealing $1,200 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Boston on May 31, 2018, according to papers filed in Manhattan federal court.
The ID listed his name, address and other personal information — but did not include a photo. Bah believes Apple took the perp at his word, and then programmed its security systems to recognize the man’s face as Bah’s.
The thief then ripped off Apple stores in New Jersey, Delaware and Manhattan — incidents Bah was blamed for, the suit claims.
He only learned about the mix-up after receiving a Boston municipal court summons in the mail in June, according to court papers.
The NYPD arrested him on Nov. 29, but a detective working the case viewed surveillance footage from the Manhattan store and concluded that the suspect “looked nothing like” Bah, his lawsuit states.
Charges against Bah have been dropped in every state except New Jersey, where the case is still pending.
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.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.