One consequence of spending your entire life on the internet is that tech firms now know absolutely everything about you. They know even more about you than you do yourself. They know your search history, shopping habits, what sites you’ve been on and for how long, they can track your movements in real time and are accused repeatedly of listening into your conversations without warning.
But how familiar are they with your IRL face? Not very, says 18-year-old Ousmane Bah from New York who has accused the technology of being responsible for his “false” arrest, claiming that Apple’s algorithms mistakenly linked video footage of thefts from several Apple stores in the US to his face.
Ousmane said he was charged with stealing Apple pencils from a store in Boston, a city which he claims he’s never even been to, and remains adamant it couldn’t possibly have been him as he was attending his senior prom at the time in New York. He now plans to sue the company for $1billion.
The student was arrested last November on charges of stealing from Apple stores located in four different states, which Ousmane has been travelling between to face the charges, and has said his grades are suffering as a result.
A New York detective reportedly told Ousmane that the thief may have used his driving license as ID during the robberies, which the 18-year-old had lost a few months earlier. Apple has since responded, saying that it doesn’t use facial recognition in its stores.
Apple’s face ID isn’t without controversy – it got off to a shaky start at its keynote launch in 2017 after it failed to unlock an IPhone X onstage. The technology has largely served its purpose since, but one journalist did manage to “trick” the system when she found that a child was able to unlock his identical twin’s phone.