Apple is currently being sued by a New York teenager who claims Apple Stores’ facial recognition technology misidentified him as a robber in Boston, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York City.
Now, Apple has come forward to claim it doesn’t scan people’s faces within its stores, as reported by The Verge. However, Apple isn’t the only company named in the lawsuit, so the teenager’s claims can’t be ruled out yet.
On Monday, Ousmane Bah filed a lawsuit against both Apple and security firm, Security Industry Specialists Inc., for a “traumatic” false arrest. In November 2018, the NYPD arrested Bah at 4 a.m. with an arrest warrant that “included a photo of a suspect that did not resemble Mr. Bah.”
It was NYPD detective, John Reinhold, who noticed Bah looked “nothing like” the suspect. He told Bah that Apple’s security technology “identifies suspects of theft using facial recognition technology.”
The Verge contacted Reinhold, who said that Apple doesn’t “technically” have facial recognition in its stores. However, Reinhold also told the outlet that his statements within the lawsuit were correct.
It is possible that the security firm identified in the lawsuit utilizes facial recognition technology to analyze security footage. According to Slate, the police report indicated that a Security Industry Specialists’ loss prevention associate was the one who identified Bah after watching a security video.
Within the lawsuit, Bah says it’s likely that the suspect presented his lost learner’s permit as identification at the stores — which didn’t contain a photo.
All other charges against Bah have been dropped, but there is still a case pending in New Jersey. Even with Apple denying the lawsuit’s claims, there are still a lot of unknown factors at play.