It’s a classic scenario of good intentions – or good technology in this case – gone wrong. A teen in the US was falsely arrested after being wrongly identified by Apple’s facial recognition software, and now he’s filed a lawsuit against Apple for US$1 billion (~RM4.13 billion) after the fact.
According to Ousmane Bah, 18, the problem started when his driver’s permit was stolen. The thief then went on to try and steal more than US$1200 (~RM4959) worth of Apple products at an outlet in Boston but didn’t get very far. At this point, it should be pointed out that Bah’s driver’s permit didn’t have a photo attached to it.
So, when the thief was caught, Apple’s security took a photo of the suspect, as well as Bah’s personal information via the stolen permit. As you would expect, this led to Apple wrongly concluding that Bah was the person who attempted the robbery.
It wasn’t until Bah was arrested at his home in New York that US law enforcement officers began connecting the dots; Bah had a solid alibi – he was at his prom in New York. More importantly, he had never been to Boston. Further, a detective who inspected the security footage also realised that both Bah and the thief looked nothing alike.
Bah was told that Apple security’s use of facial recognition technology may have been the issue; during one of the thief’s several attempts, the thief had presented Bah’s permit to an Apple security officer who, as explained earlier, wrongly pegged him as the person named on the card.
Apple has yet to make an official statement about the matter, but it did tell Engadget that it “does not use facial recognition software in its stores”.