Teen Suing Apple for $1 Billion Over False Arrest Linked to Facial Recognition

Facial recognition is cool technology with a lot of benefits. But it can also majorly mess up, as a New York teen learned in November. 

Credit: Shutterstock

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As Bloomberg reports, 18-year-old Ousmane Bah was arrested and charged with stealing from an Apple store -- based on a photo that looked nothing like him.

Bah believes his face was mistakenly connected to the thief's name in the Apple Store's facial-recognition system. He previously lost a driving permit with no photo, which the thief could have obtained and used as ID in the store.

The teen has sued Apple for $1 billion. 

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This isn't the first time facial recognition has led to an arrest. Many governmental agencies, including London's police department, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have tested using facial recognition screening to yield arrests.

But this case highlights the potential imperfections of such technology, and the importance of double-checking identities. The ACLU tested a recognition software that Amazon uses and found that it falsely matched 28 members of Congress with mugshot photos, with errors disproportionately impacting members of color. 

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.