Student Sues Apple for $1 Billion Because It's Apple, Of Course

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 29, 2019 12:00 PM

An 18-year-student sued Apple for $1 billion, alleging the company wrongly accused him of stealing from its stores.

Ousmane Bah says he didn't steal anything. Instead, he says Apple used facial recognition software that falsely identified him. Police arrested Bah, but then released him when they discovered the error. It turned out someone stole Bah's identity in another arrest for the theft of Apple pencils. They cost $1,200 because it's Apple, of course.

It's Apple

Fraudulent concealment, negligence, defamation, and emotional distress are serious concerns, of course. Bah has a case, for now. Apple, however, says it doesn't use facial recognition technology in its stores. Apple iPhones do, but that's a different story.

In any case, $1 billion is a big ask -- even for a teenager. But Bah, a first-year college students, says the arrest caused his grades to suffer. He said he spent a lot of time going to court, and "suffered constant anxiety over the possibility of being arrested at any time for crimes he did not commit." He was arrested on Nov. 29 in New York, and charged for thefts in four states. All have dismissed the charges, except New Jersey, the lawsuit said.

Still, It's Apple

The real thief was caught stealing from Apple's Boston store on May 31, 2018. According to the lawsuit, the thief used a stolen ID with Bah's information but not his photo. Bah alleges that Apple then connected his name to the thief's face in its facial recognition system. That's how Bah showed up in the criminal justice system in four states, he says. NY officials said they dropped the case against Bah when they saw Apple's video footage -- not facial recognition system -- and realized the mistaken identity.  

Not judging here, but it could be that police took the real defendant's photo and used Bah's information from the stolen ID? It is a $1 billion question, of course.

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