Apple being sued for $1bn over claims facial recognition technology wrongly identified a robber

Apple is being sued for $1 billion (£770 million) by a New York student who has accused the retailer of using facial recognition technology to arrest the wrong person.

Ousmane Bah is suing the retailer after he was identified by Apple as a robber who had committed theft in numerous Apple stores across the US.

However, Bah claims that he was wrongly identified as the robber by Apple’s facial recognition technology, and goes on to add that the photo on the arrest warrant is not him.

According to The Verge, NYPD Detective John Reinhold gave a testimony stating that Bah “looked nothing like” the suspect on CCTV during a robbery at Apple’s Manhattan store.

READ MORE: Over 20 AI experts call for Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition tech to law enforcement

More importantly, according to the lawsuit, Reinhold then went on to explain that Apple’s security systems use facial recognition technology to identify its suspects.

Following his testimony, and backed by surveillance footage, district attorneys in New York and Boston have now dropped the charges against Bah, though one case is still pending in New Jersey.

When questioned by The Verge, Apple stated that it doesn’t use facial recognition technology in its stores, a fact that was later confusingly confirmed by Reinhold, despite him stating that he stood by his initial testimony.

A second defendant in the lawsuit offers some explanation, highlighting a third-party security company called Security Industry Specialists (SIS) which may have used facial recognition technology to analyse CCTV footage from the Apple store.

Though SIS doesn’t explicitly state it works with Apple, the lawsuit states that Bah was presented with a police report stating that an SIS loss prevention employee caught him stealing Apple pencils on CCTV in Boston.

In yet another twist, Bah stated that he was attending his senior prom in Manhattan during the time of the robbery.

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