back to article Apple sued in nightmare case involving teen wrongly accused of shoplifting, driver's permit used by impostor, and unreliable facial-rec tech

Apple and its security contractor Security Industry Specialists (SIS) were sued on Friday in Massachusetts as part of a multijurisdictional defamation and malicious prosecution complaint brought on behalf of Ousmane Bah, a New York resident misidentified as a shoplifter multiple times in 2018 and 2019. The lawsuit contends …

  1. JWLong Bronze badge

    Apple and SIS have a qualified law enforcement privilege that allows them to err in store

    This privilege is supposed to be used by commissioned officers of police departments to protect wittiness and investigations, not corporations or their lackies.

    Just another example of corporate ownership of the law, and it's all bullshit.

    But Apple will pay off the lawyers with 30 seconds of profit and this will never see the light of day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple and SIS have a qualified law enforcement privilege that allows them to err in store

      Has seen the light of day. Have seen this now in three different reporting venues.

      What're they going to say? "We're holding him wrong" ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple and SIS have a qualified law enforcement privilege that allows them to err in store

      I'mm justt surrprrised Appple diddn't puut thee miistake duwn tto a ttypo from tyyping itt ouutt on onee off theiir owmn keeybboards.

      They really should be known as 'Appple' from now on, on El Reg.

    3. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Apple and SIS have a qualified law enforcement privilege that allows them to err in store

      > to protect wittiness and investigations

      Oh, well, I'm all for the protection of wittiness, really. The more folk pitching in on that, the better.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    a friend of the Plaintiff

    Well, obviously, if the Plaintiff is going to hang around with such ne'er do wells as his document stealing 'friend', he's bound to be guilty of something.

    That's how it works, isn't it?

    Yeah, right...

  3. ShadowSystems

    Start hanging out at the police station.

    They claim you robbed a store in $Location at $Date.Time.

    You can point to the security footage from police HQ that shows you quietly reading a book in their lobby at the time.

    "You had video of the suspect. You failed to retain it as evidence. You can not provide proof that the suspect was *me*. I, on the other hand, have video proving I was never there & multiple *police officer eye witness'* to that fact. Go ahead & prosecute, I'm sure the State Attorney General's office will have a ton of fun beating you like a cheap pinata."

    1. Matthew 25

      Re: Start hanging out at the police station.

      You have to remember that this gent is black. Hanging out at the police station may no be good for his health.

  4. Jamesit

    "that the video evidence of the impostor, which would have completely exculpated Ousmane Bah, had been routinely deleted."

    How convenient. I hope he wins, SIS and Apple need to pay him.

    "The arresting officer was able to identify the impostor as Mamadou Barrie, a friend of the Plaintiff, who apparently stole the learner’s permit from the Plaintiff,"

    Nice friend, I hope he is made to pay Ousmane too.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      So there is a thief. He is photographed, and he loses a forged library card with his photo and someone else’s name. What would you expect the police to do? I’d expect them to check out the person whose name is on the library card. With the library card or a copy in hand.

      “It’s not a valid ID” is a ridiculous argument. If you want to catch a thief, you use anything you can. “They conveniently deleted the picture” is also nonsense. Nobody claims it was his picture. And I assume the thief had long been convicted, no reason ans possibly illegal to keep his picture after that.

      1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

        Nope - warrants for arrest in multiple states were issued under the assumption the person in the picture matched the name.

      2. David Neil

        Did you wilfully misread the article or are you always this ignorant?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Likely both.

        2. Androgynous Cow Herd

          False premise...

          One does not negate the other.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Well, while we're discussing expectations and assumptions, I expected you to read the article before commenting and assume that you didn't. Here are a few of the things you've gotten wrong.

        "So there is a thief. He is photographed, and he loses a forged library card with his photo and someone else’s name."

        Nothing here is correct. Not a library card. No photo on the card, which is a permit for an as yet unlicensed driver. Card is not forged, but a true card. Thief and rightful owner of card are two different people.

        "They conveniently deleted the picture” is also nonsense. Nobody claims it was his picture."

        Except Apple and their security contractor, repeatedly, after being informed multiple times of their mistake. But nobody else, except sometimes the police. But nobody else.

        "And I assume the thief had long been convicted, no reason ans possibly illegal to keep his picture after that."

        No conviction has happened. Because in order to convict someone, you have to identify who they are, and when they tried to do that, they found out they were wrong about the identification.

      4. Falmari Silver badge

        Read the article

        @gnasher729 Did you read the article?

        1) It was not a library card it was a temporary driving licence.

        2) It was not forged it was stolen.

        3) The license was not lost the thief was apprehended and presented the license as proof of identity but it is not valid proof of identity as it does not have a photo on it.

        4) The details on the license did not match the apprehended thief who was 6' 1" the license said 5'7". So even though the apprehended thief was 6" taller than the height stated on the license they still believed the license was his.

        ""It’s not a valid ID” is a ridiculous argument." No it is not a ridiculous argument.

        "document included his height, weight, date of birth, and eye color, but no photograph."

        Again it is not valid id because it contained no photograph. That is why the license stated this.

        "This temporary document is not to be used for identification purposes.""

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Read the article

          Birth certificates are explcitly NOT to be used as identification documents, yet in most parts of the world they are used as the basis of obtaining such things

          The entire identification system is messed up

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: Read the article

            @ Alan Brown, I agree (+1) birth certificates are used as the bases to get these ID, they are here in the UK and I immediately thought of Day of the jackal.

            “The entire identification system is messed up” maybe but what is the alternative?

            The UK does not have national ID cards, despite it being the Orwellian wet dream of successive governments no matter their colour red or blue. A dream it could be argued they are trying to get through the backdoor photos on driving licenses young peoples photo ID cards to prove they can purchase things like alcohol. Citizens are also not required to carry ID.

            So, it becomes a bit of a chicken and the egg situation. How do you get your first photo ID for instance a passport if you do not have photo ID to prove who you are? Birth certificate looks like a good starting point for ID if there are other checks.

            When I got my first passport many years ago, I had to supply a birth certificate. The form also had to be signed by a professional person (not family) stating how long (had to be 5 years or more) they knew me and how they knew me, I used my doctor.

            Now I do not know what they do today, but I am sure it is along those lines. That is acceptable to me as the alternative could be much worse. Required to visit the ID registration centre with a parent/guardian at say 14 to get you first National photo ID card that must be carried at all times.

          2. teknopaul Silver badge

            Re: Read the article

            they have photos, they may lie about deleting them but they do have photos.

      5. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        FAIL

        Not a library csrd

        Apparently you neither know how to read nor drive.

        1. roytrubshaw
          Headmaster

          Re: Not a library csrd

          "... neither ... nor ..."

          Kudos for correct usage! :)

      6. JimboSmith Silver badge

        So I could get your details and have a document made up such as an Air France elite frequent flier card http://www.magnoliprops.com/air-france-club-card-credit-cards-p-524.html. I then break the law and and when I'm searched they find the card with your details on. They identity you as the thief based on this 'ID' and you'd be happy with this?

      7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        I'm not sure which article you just read, but it's clearly NOT the one you are commenting on. Just about everything you said is just so wrong.

        It wasn't the thief who lost or had stolen, his ID

        The ID wasn't a library card

        The ID was NOT photo ID

        "not a valid ID" means there is little to no checking when it's issued, therefore almost anyone can obtain this document without verifiable proof, therefore it CANNOT be proof of ID.

      8. Muppet Boss Bronze badge
        Joke

        >And I assume the thief had long been convicted

        I assume you don't mind people impersonating you. Would you mind sharing your SSN?

      9. martyn.hare
        Alert

        I would expect them NOT to

        Make the same mistake repeatedly and then falsely arrest said person, while failing to force Apple to hand over the full evidence (high quality source video footage) in-context from multiple CCTV feeds. Apple just wanted easy insurance money here via their contracted security firm.

        What I would expect: Visit him once, check his alibi, if he doesn’t have one, question him at the station (once) without needing to make an official arrest. If there isn’t enough evidence, then there isn’t enough evidence, so be it and if that’s the case and questioning doesn’t help then it’s time to move on to someone else. Full CCTV from an HD/UHD feed (we know they have high res CCTV from news footage) should be more than enough to identify the individual.

        1. Fred Daggy

          Re: I would expect them NOT to

          Lack of evidence never stopped (1) Bent coppers, or (2) Honest coppers with a quota to fill, (3) Honest coppers chasing a promotion, or (4) cops who don't like your skin colour, religion, personality, sexuality, age, chosen social activity or (5) cops having a bad day or (6) cops having a good day.

          They work a bit like the US Patents Office. Press charges, see what sticks.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: I would expect them NOT to

            fred, apart from the fact that the accused will have the cctb evidence in court to prove it wasnt them. sort of makes the cops look stupid then.

      10. Weylin

        The stolen temporary permit did not contain a photo. It's quite reasonable that a document without a photo isn't a valid ID. They deleted the video footage of the thefts. What would normally be considered vital evidence. They did claim that he was the person in the video. They claimed this multiple times.

      11. teknopaul Silver badge

        “It’s not a valid ID” is a ridiculous argument. If you want to catch a thief, you use anything you can.

        This is very perverse logic for a mathmo gnasher729, the thief was caught on camera they have his photo and height.

        The only possible way this statement makes sense is if you believe one crime one prosecution and you dont care _who_ is prosecuted. In racist American this is close what some people think, but it aint logic.

        Hopefully we can put the real criminals behind bars: those who lied in court.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "Nice friend, I hope he is made to pay Ousmane too."

      The friend is unlikely to have any funds to pay unless courts released him so that he can continue his promising shoplifting career.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "had been routinely deleted."

      Yet, it had not been deleted, as the video was found in discovery, so they lied.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        isn't lieing to the court known as "perjury" in most parts of the world?

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

    but employees of Apple and SIS. They were employed in a security capacity and have demonstrated a total carelessness and negligence in what they did. Making these personally pay Bah, on top of huge compensation by Apple & SIS, might make others in similar positions take their responsibilities seriously.

    Fines for wasting police time would also be appropriate.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

      "but employees of Apple and SIS. They were employed in a security capacity and have demonstrated a total carelessness and negligence in what they did. Making these personally pay Bah, on top of huge compensation by Apple & SIS, might make others in similar positions take their responsibilities seriously.

      True, but... this really depends on what the SIS policies are and how those corporate coppers were instructed to do their work - a one day Powerpoint lesson? Since there are multiple employees who have failed in this case, it alludes to poor work culture and lack of staff education to fulfill their job according to state and/or municipal laws.

      For example, can any one of the video monitoring employees file these APB notices to the police department or have they cleared these first with their superiors? Has SIS educated the personnel to verify IDs properly?

      I really hope SIS (and Apple) are punished severely and Mr. Bah gets rewarded accordingly.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

        "it alludes to poor work culture and lack of staff education"

        I think the culture and education are just fine. They have corrupted a special exemption to allow them to accuse whoever the hell they like without repercussions.

        The problem is they went overboard with it, victimising this one guy repeatedly even whilst potentially knowing that it wasn't him (because immunity).

        I really hope a judge slaps them down so hard that when they wake up they'll be in whatever their concept of hell is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

      Fot Bah it is a matter of "deepest pockets". What are the chances of some minimum wage security functionaries having any assets with which to pay compensation to Bah. So why should he be obliged to lose out when these people were acting at the behest of some wealthy corporations.

      I agree that it would seem beneficial to society if there was some element of personal responsibility, but on the flip side people at the bottom of the pile are often in little position to argue with their employer.

      If an individual had acted totally improperly and against company policy, training, and instruction it would seem reasonable for the company to be able to sue the employee for the damages caused to them as a result of the victim sueing the company.

    3. analyzer

      Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

      Incorrect on both sides of the pond.

      When official statements are made they are made by representatives of the company involved and these very same representatives present the view and position of the company they represent. A statement of shoplifting to the police is most certainly an official statement.

      Therefore those employees that in their official capacity ordered police to make false arrests were implementing the will and the wonts of both businesses.

      If that is not the will and wont of those businesses then the businesses are still at fault because they provided training that was insufficient to the task required.

      Hope he is awarded a serious pot of dosh.

    4. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

      Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

      What are Apple and SIS if not aggregated employees? Nothing is done except by employees of these firms; firms cannot lie, only their employees. IANAL but I firmly believe this is an ancient principle of the law: masters are responsible for the actions of the servants in their employ. Minimal research leads me to the insight that there is a distinction between employer::employee and principal::agent relationships, but today I am avoiding rabbit-holes.

      1. JWLong Bronze badge

        Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

        But, according to the Supreme Court corporations are people

        Throw the hole corporation(s) in jail, just like they would do to me if I lied like a peckerwood.

    5. AdamWill

      Re: It is not Apple or SIS who lied ...

      What a bizarre distinction to try and draw. Of course "Apple" cannot literally lie: "Apple" cannot literally speak. Only people who work for it can. So why would you say that like it means something? The people who work for the company represent it. What they do, it does.

  6. John Savard Silver badge

    Justice

    Of course, Ousmane Bah should recieve compensation on the basis of strict liability. Whatever portion of that compensation cannot be paid by Apple, SIS, or the police departments and stores involved would fall on the shoulders of the impostor. And inability to pay should not be taken as an excuse. He will just have to work hard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Justice

      The can't prosecute the imposter for the crime while Ousmane Bah is being prosecuted instead. Yes, they had full "knowledge" that Ousmane Bah did not commit the crime but fixing their legal mistakes would require admitting they made multiple careless reckless mistakes.

      > "Nonetheless, prosecution against Bah continued in multiple states through June 2019."

      They "drop" the cases against Ousmane Bah, but the arrest records remain and follow him forever including when potential employers investigate. Prosecuting the imposter for all those crimes would serve as proof that the arrest warrants were indeed mistaken - maybe. But Apple, SIS, and the police do not bother.

      Thus Ousmane Bah must sue, and win, to clear his name. Hope he gets adequately compensated for their carelessness too.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Justice

        "Thus Ousmane Bah must sue, and win, to clear his name. Hope he gets adequately compensated for their carelessness too."

        This seems such an open and shut case, he'll likely have his pick from a whole host of lawyers falling over themselves to take such an easy case. I just hope he gets to take it to court for full legal vindication and judicial mandated compensation and doesn't get seduced by an out-of-court settlement.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Justice

          There are plenty of cases that could have been open-and-shut in the US where an innocent person was kept for decades behind bars, ot sent to death, because nobody would admit mistakes. Not the police, not the prosecution, and sometimes not even their own crappy lawyer.

          Getting somebody convicted, anybody, appears to work better for reelection than admitting a mistake.

    2. myhandler

      Re: Justice

      No the impostor is just a thief. The fault is with facial recognition systems and employees who believe computers never make mistakes. That's how it's going to be from now.

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Justice

      Someone repeatedly shoplifting high value items despite being repeatedly caught is prima facie evidence of an addicted person forced to do this to support his habit. I doubt such a person is going to be able to hold down a job and pay a fine. Not without lots of addiction support etc work first. Which he is very unlikely to get.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Justice

        Is this really a thing now? "I'm not responsible for my repeated and widespread shoplifting, my brain made me do it?"

    4. jonathan keith Silver badge

      Re: Justice

      I don't think it's unreasonable to say that no matter how large the amount of compensation is determined to be, Apple could afford to pay the entire sum without even blinking.

    5. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Justice

      "He will just have to work hard."

      Since the imposter's trade seems to be shoplifting hi-tech equipment using phony IDs, having him work harder may be a suboptimal solution.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why am I not surprised?

    Barrie in no way physically resembles the Plaintiff, other than being Black

    Which for a part of the population translates as "other than being a criminal": Just throw him in prison, he'll know what for...

    /sarcasm

  8. skeptical i
    Meh

    Jeebus, poor kid, what hell.

    I can not imagine how much this sh!tstorm has interfered with Mr. Bah's plans to apply for college, get a job, and/or do whatever youth do after high school. I hope he has family, real friends (no, Mamadou, not you), and other support around him who can help ensure he comes out the other end of this ordeal better than a traumatized effed-up mess.

    At least he will have an interesting "how I spent my gap years" essay for college applications. Just bill that full ride scholarship to $university_of_choice to Apple, Inc.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    "reckless disregard for the truth"

    there is quite a lot of that going around at the moment.

    Other reports here on the Register have pointed to the very poor reliability of facial recognition 'technology' in identifying black people reliably.

  11. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

    Hmmm, what are the prosecution options?

    I mean, they had a terrible ID and it was his own "friend" who originally got him in trouble.

    I guess they could have removed his name from the shoplifter register quicker. Which did ultimately cause an apparently innocent guy harm.

    It must be said, reading elsewhere, his lawyer has asked for $1 billion in damages (lol), based on Apple's use of "video recognition software in their stores", but Apple replied by saying they just have CCTV, it's the local police who used the facial recognition software and assigned the wrong name.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      The allegation is that Apple[/SIS] not only failed to remove the defendant's name from their records after adding it based on evidence that was obviously unreliable, but that failure led directly to his arrest and detention.

      If there were no recourse for that, we'd be talking about a pretty awful justice system. If the facts stand up at trial I hope this guy gets millions.

      But, to answer your question directly, in the Massachusetts filing the claimed causes are: defamation, malicious* prosecution, intentional and/or negligent misrepresentation, and negligence.

      * assuming US law matches UK law, this just means something a bit like 'while aware that doing so was wrong'. It doesn't require ill will.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well there's the problem. Apple said "Black sus" and nobody bothered to look further...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shocking

    This is probably the first thing I've read in The Register I actually have trouble believing even though I am sure it is 100% true. Good luck Mr Bah, I hope you win your case and obtain substantial damages.

  14. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Idiots training Artificial Idiocy

    There is a significant difference between 5'7" and 6'1" even you otherwise resemble each other. It is 6 inches (152.4 mm) difference. That should be obvious to anyone other than an idiot or artificial idiocy. NY and NJ had a habit of issuing drivers license sans picture when other allegedly more backward states like GA were issuing ones with pictures on them.

    1. Falmari Silver badge
      Joke

      Size matters

      "It is 6 inches (152.4 mm) difference." Size matters ;)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Size matters

        Icon fixed for you!

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: Size matters

          @John Brown (no body), I thought my size joke was quite good but I wish I had thought of the icon. That was just inspired I bow to your superior wit.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Size matters

        "It is 6 inches (152.4 mm) difference."

        To be pedantic about unnecessary pedantry, unless you are measuring someone with a micrometer, it's about (or near enough) 15 cm difference. I would have thought that all Reg readers would all know about spurious precision when making measurements or conversions.

        Our height varies a little over the course of the day, so any attempt to be more "precise" than centimetre accuracy (or the old-fashioned alternative) is both pointless and actually incorrect. Heck, you could gain or lose a few mm just depending on how you brushed your hair that day.

        15 cm is always a perfectly good enough equivalent for 6" in all cases, except where mm or sub-mm accuracy is really needed (in which case you are very, very, unlikely to be using old-fashioned units in the first place!).

        I find it rather worrying that so many US folk seem to think that the rest of the world goes around describing everyday objects to sub-millimetre precision. We really don't (except perhaps how pointlessly thin our mobile phones are).

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Idiots training Artificial Idiocy

      Instruction Permits aren't licenses, they're just permits for unlicensed drivers to operate a vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver.

      The UK issues provisional licenses which aren't the same thing although they achieve the same purpose.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real perp really likes his Apple stores

    Frequent, if not brief, visitor to all of them.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would have thought if they had recorded a crime, they would keep it and delete the crime free bits

  17. MiguelC Silver badge

    They all look alike, don't they?

    "Barrie in no way physically resembles the Plaintiff, other than being Black."

    /S

  18. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    "reckless disregard for the truth"

    There is a lot of that going around at the moment.

    There have been several articles here on the Register about how poor computer facial recognition systems are particularly for black subjects. Today there is also an article in the "I" by Jermaine Jenas about how young he was when he was first stopped by the police (10). HE was stopped quite a lot when a slyer at Spurs as he drove an expensive car.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: "reckless disregard for the truth"

      Not sure what happened last night. Posted this twice as the first time didn't appear. Oh well, sorry for the repetition.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: "reckless disregard for the truth"

        Same Register was also not recording votes.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "reckless disregard for the truth"

          I think the PFY has switched it off and on again.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: "reckless disregard for the truth"

            I guess that in a few weeks / months / years we will read a "Who Me?" article all about an IT failing at a popular IT web site where 'someone' forgot to let people post responses, upvotes or downvotes for several hours, and managed to bluff their way out of getting sacked.

            ;o)

  19. Archivist

    Bah humbug

    That.

  20. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

    OK. So a persistent thief commits dozens of robberies and gives a fake stolen name and ID.

    A mistake is made, and the wrong guy is arrested. This guy has his name briefly attached to a police facial recognition tool. When the mistake is validated, the facial recognition is updated.

    Sooooo. Mistakes and assumptions have been made, they have been corrected.

    Apparently, the lawyers wanted $1bn in damages. I have to admit I chuckled when I heard that number.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite. Apple and SIS continue to persistently use the wrong idea and identify the wrong person to the police, even though they know the details they have are unreliable.

      That is the point of the case. If it was a one-off that had been corrected then we wouldn't be hearing about it.

      But then the US justice system has form for keeping people in jail for a crime even after someone else has confessed to it and shown the evidence that the incorrectly jailed person is innocent.

    2. Precordial thump

      Until you start reading the articles, you're only in it for the downvotes.

      Being fooled by a false name and stolen (invalid) ID is one thing; failing to acknowledge and promptly make good the error when a man's freedom and good reputation are on the line is another. But then lying and tampering with recorded evidence to gloss over the faults in the system seems to show that a smack in the face with a hefty damages payout is all that will make these companies sit up and take notice.

      He that filches from me my good name...

  21. NuffSed?
    Joke

    Have I got this about right? (Improvements welcome)

    Slighty serious (but meant in fun)

    US VERSION?

    How many times do people rely on what they see on screen? (Computers don't lie, people do!)

    GIGO at is worst. (It's in the database so that's the truth)

    Don't bother with due diligence, don't waste the budget, someone else will do that! (Just collect the brownie points and job satisfaction)

    Don't worry if we do an half-arsed job (It's not your fault you weren't trained)

    The operative is fully trained and knows their job (so what if you don't have time to do it properly just do want you can)

    The company is ultimately responsible if you do your job. (Our staff are well trained and do their job to the best of their ability)

    The company got it wrong? (Impossible. Our staff are well trained and do their job to the best of their ability)

    The company is being sued for getting it wrong... (No problem we have immunity lobbying money well spent)

    Oh the company is being sued actively ignoring immunity conditions... (Lobbying budget needs reviewing upwards, oh and don't forget, clip a few bucks to the NDA on your way out)

    No problem here. (Sssh!)

    UK VERSION

    How many times do people rely on what they see on screen? (Computers don't lie, people do!)

    GIGO at is worst. (It's in the database so that's the truth)

    Don't bother with due diligence, don't waste the budget, someone else will do that! (Just collect the brownie points and job satisfaction)

    Don't worry if we do an half-arsed job (It's not your fault you weren't trained)

    The operative is fully trained and knows their job (so what if you don't have time to do it properly just do want you can)

    The company is ultimately responsible if you do your job. (Our staff are well trained and do their job to the best of their ability)

    The company got it wrong? (Impossible. Our staff are well trained by highly trained and knowledgeable consultants)

    The company is being sued for getting it wrong... (We have consultants who have made sure this can't happen)

    Oh the company is being sued, no problem (And... oh? Where's the template BS response letter?)

    Court papers have arrived (Get the lawyers to tell the to F*** Off, oh don't forget to tell them how big we are)

    Court date set (counter sue, spread the BS, threaten to take their children, tell GCHQ they spies, I don't care just F*** em off)

    Court judgement (offer to pay slightly less now, with a NDA)

    No problem here (just ask a Tory or BoJo)

    (Shareholders) but we got caught for being a dick.. (And that's what insurance is for, and if it raises the premiums, we'll pass it on to our customers)

    But, the customers may leave (have you read our T&C's?)

    Now, send someone to US on a jolly to find out how we buy politicians and law enforcement.

    (Press) what about that problem you just got sued for? (Sorry my Maserati was revving too loud)

    Don't worry about it my salary is safe and I'm due a peerage just ask BoJo

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He may be lucky..

    .. because

    a - Apple and SIS HAD exculpatory evidence but chose to hide it, leading to not just wrongful accusations but a string of negative followup events which impacted his life

    b - US punitive damages are supposed to set examples (the hint is in the word "punitive") and it's Apple. A fine of couple of million would not even need boardroom signoff, so kicking off with a $1bn demand was not a bad move.

    To be honest, this is shocking. Yes, you can screw up, it happens, because there are indeed a Godawful amount of people and gangs who engage in proletarian shopping, it's the scourge of everyone with a shop open to the public. However, if that happens you apologize, with or without the help of a fine, and correct so you don't make that mistake again. What you do NOT try to do is to ruin someone's life, because then YOU are committing a crime and frankly I hope they get the absolute bejeezes fined out of them.

    I'm very OK with Apple as a technology provider, I am very much NOT OK with whoever is in charge of the shops because this attempt to shove this crap under the carpet and just ruin someone's life ought to be visited on whoever took that decision. A fine isn't enough, nor is just sacking the f*ckwit who thought that would be OK to do because they'll just find another place to work.

    Good that it has finally made its way into the courts.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: He may be lucky..

      Nobody’s life is ruined. The guy was arrested for a short time, then it was found it wasn’t him, and that’s it. Happens to lots of people all the time. The only thing different is that he is trying to get lots of money out of this, failed to get it in one court, and three years later tries in another court. Of course his lawyer tries to make everything sound as bad as possible. Like the “facial recognition” that everyone hates and that didn’t exist.

  23. msobkow Bronze badge

    Welcome to Apple!

    Even our security algorithms are prejudiced - and you DON'T have any rights whatsoever when dealing with us.

    We OWN the "Justice" system, you know. We have BILLIONS in the bank to outwait your lawsuit.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The dystopian future movies were correct

    The corporation's have for a long time owned the politicians and set the laws.

    Now they run the police too.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem is..the NY learners permit does have a photo on it. Its photo ID ..

    When I got my learners permit more than 30 years ago it had a photo on it. Just like the drivers license. Still have it.

    https://dmv.ny.gov/id-card/sample-photo-documents

    Now the learners permit is not one of those "RealID" thingies. Thats all.

    The line "not to be used as ID" is not what it actually says. A learners permit is not a RealID license (neither is my current drivers license) so as such cannot be used in any Federal facility or for the TSA. But its perfectly valid as photo ID. Just like every other DMV license issued for the last forty plus years.

    The rest of the story does sounds like a lot of lawyer hand waving. More hot air than substance. Maybe he did it, maybe he didnt. But when lawyers pulls stunts like that it sounds more like a fishing expedition for a big payout rather than having any actual legal merit.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Problem is..the NY learners permit does have a photo on it. Its photo ID ..

      The provisional learners permit apparently doesn't have a photo now, and definitely didn't thirty years ago. It's just a printed piece of paper. Here's one from 1991.

      I've lived in three states during the last ten years; only one of them was able to print a photo card while I waited. The other two — one of which was New York — print them at some other location and send them through the post, giving you temporary paper credentials while you're in the DMV so that you can drive immediately.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Problem is..the NY learners permit does have a photo on it. Its photo ID ..

        Sorry, no one and I mean no one would use the DMV receipt, which is what is claimed, to ID a perp. Not just at Apple stores, not even a liquor store security guard would do that. Thats how stupid the claim is.

        If no photo ID they call the cops as its probably a juvenile or else has outstanding warrants. In which case, problems solved. Less paperwork. Let the cops book them on the outstanding warrants. Or on a probation offense. Always easy to book them on one of those.

        Thats how stupid this story sounds.

        Some guy stole my ID, yeah, sure, buddy. And it just happened to be the DMV receipt not the actual photo ID. And professional security at the most high risk retail store imaginable broke all standard procedures for doing initial perp ID. Then deleted all evidence. For some small time shoplifting offense. Sound like a very plausible story. I dont think so.

        Try talking to someone who works in a big city Apple Store and hear the stories of all the scams the "ethnic" shoplifters try. Trying to create scenes where they can sue the store. Or steal the merch. One friend who grew up in South Africa was very popular in whichever store she worked in because she knew exactly how to deal with the unrelenting BS from the petty criminals. They never tried shoplifting when it was her shift. Same goes for Nigerian security guards. Great guys. No one dares shoplift when they are on duty.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Problem is..the NY learners permit does have a photo on it. Its photo ID ..

          "Sorry, no one and I mean no one would use the DMV receipt, which is what is claimed, to ID a perp. Not just at Apple stores, not even a liquor store security guard would do that. Thats how stupid the claim is."

          Well, that leaves two options:

          1. The Apple store security people were stupid and did so anyway, meaning your view is useful for the plaintiff because it proves they were not only harassing him after knowing their mistake but also should never have made that mistake in the first place. That could add a negligence charge.

          2. The plaintiff is just lying, despite the records Apple and the police have provided which the article covered. These substantiate the use of a photoless card, height difference, and identification of a different person.

          Which seems more likely?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Problem is..the NY learners permit does have a photo on it. Its photo ID ..

            The article looks like it is purely based on the claims made by the lawyers acting on behalf of the accused shoplifter. Ever been involved in a civil or criminal court case in the US? Ever seen the claims made by the other side in court filing? I have on several occasion in the last few decades. So color me profoundly skeptical of most claims made in such filings.

            I am also very familiar with the tactics used by lawyers defending petty criminals. I made sure than a street crim who stole a whole bunch of my laptops spent some time in jail. It took a year of his lawyers trying every trick in the book to make the case go away but in the end they gave up and the guy went to jail. A really nasty piece of work. Since then he has raped several women and went back to prison. The pre prison attacks could not be proved.

            So maybe the guy in the article is innocent but based on what I have seen over the decades, personally, if I was on a jury trying the case I'd vote that he was guilty. Not beyond all reasonable doubt but definitely preponderance of evidence. Which is all you would need in a case like this. Unless his lawyer could come up with far more compelling evidence than they have so far.

            So it sounds like just another guy playing legal silly buggers in my opinion. So just another typical day in the City Court.

    2. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Problem is..the NY learners permit does have a photo on it. Its photo ID ..

      @AC read the article it was not a learners permit it was a temporary learners permit which does not have a photo. From article.

      "Bah, who is Black, obtained a New York State temporary learner driver's permit ..."

      "According to the Massachusetts court filing, he had lost the temporary permit by May that year, but had obtained a permanent laminated copy that included his picture."

  26. martinusher Silver badge

    Something doesn't smell quite right

    The more I read about this the less convincing it sounds. It looks like the first time this friend was apprehended he was interviewed by store security, photographed, given a warning (he's probably a minor so it wouldn't be worth prosecuting him for a first offense) and then released. The mistake by security wasn't verifying his ID, at least there's no mention of security contacting his parents or guardians to verify his ID and inform them about what he was apprehended for.

    Its this picture that was then circulated to other Apple stores so that when the friend was caught again -- and again -- eventually the police intervened and arrested and charged the wrong person based on the information they were given. They should be able to sort this problem out, the fact they didn't immediately do so was a serious mistake, one that occurs all too often.

    This story isn't about facial recognition or discrimination or anything like that. There are failures in process but if I had been given this case in the DA's office I'd now be looking at collusion on the part of these two young people. There may be nothing in it but the fact that there are multiple offenses mean that something isn't quite right.

    As for facial recognition, if you misbehave in a Las Vegas casino -- get caught cheating, for example (and there are innumerable cameras looking at you while you play so forget 'privacy') then you will be kicked out of the casino and your picture will be circulated to other casinos. You will be identified the moment you step into any casino on the Strip. Its the way they roll -- and they've been doing it for years. So its not surprising that Apple might use something similar in their stores. Its not a civil liberties issue -- if you don't want to be scanned by the system then don't enter the store (its a "Terms an Conditions" thing).

    1. Muppet Boss Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Something doesn't smell quite right

      >As for facial recognition, if you misbehave ... then you will be kicked out of the casino and your picture will be circulated to other casinos.

      Well, if the facial recognition incorrectly identifies a wrong person as you, you will be wrongly kicked out of the casino, banned and maybe even wrongly prosecuted. And then it becomes your problem even though you did nothing wrong.

      >Its not a civil liberties issue -- if you don't want to be scanned by the system then don't enter the store (its a "Terms an Conditions" thing).

      I am amused by how people excuse the US corporations for playing their little totalitarian states by saying this is a private business so they can do it. Next time Apple demands people to do fingerprinting before entering their stores "to validate a genuine Apple customer" and people will be happy about it.

      Eventually they will refuse to sell you their phones because their algorithms determined your political views are harmful and this information will be circulated to their partners where you will be banned too. No protected categories harmed, purely commercial decision, hello China.

  27. Potemkine! Silver badge

    You knew state-owned companies? You'll be delighted by our new invention, companies-owned states!

    1. Muppet Boss Bronze badge

      Not so new, companies owned small and not so small states for ages. Just think of West India and East India Companies for a starter. It is just that previously such companies owned foreign states.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        The USA has a long and unfortunate history of interference in sovereign states' governments. For example, when Guatemala wanted their workers for United Fruit to have a reasonable wage, the CIA overthrew the government:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company

        "In 1954, the democratically elected Guatemalan government of Colonel Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán was toppled by U.S.-backed forces led by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas who invaded from Honduras. Commissioned by the Eisenhower administration, this military operation was armed, trained and organized by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (see Operation PBSuccess). The directors of United Fruit Company (UFCO) had lobbied to convince the Truman and Eisenhower administrations that Colonel Árbenz intended to align Guatemala with the Eastern Bloc. Besides the disputed issue of Árbenz's allegiance to communism, UFCO was being threatened by the Árbenz government's agrarian reform legislation and new Labor Code."

        Then there is the overthrow of a certain democratically elected leader in Iran:

        "The 1953 Iranian coup d'état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup d'état (Persian: کودتای ۲۸ مرداد‎), was the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on 19 August 1953. It was orchestrated by the United States (under the name TPAJAX Project or "Operation Ajax") and the United Kingdom (under the name "Operation Boot"). The clergy also played a considerable role."

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27état

        Which is probably one of the reasons why the Brits and the USAfolk are not all that trusted by the Iranians and others in the Middle East .

  28. Sven Coenye
    Unhappy

    Next up...

    Corporate lawyer: "Your Honor, it is my clients' sincerely held belief the perpetrator is Ousmane Bah. These proceedings are a gross violation of their religious freedom."

    Judge: "Case dismissed!"

    /s

  29. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Autonomous Drone Attack on People

    According to the rival "New Scientist" web site there has been an attack by autonomous drones on people:

    "The robot in question is a Kargu-2 quadcopter produced by STM, a Turkish firm. It is equipped with an explosive charge and can be flown manually, but in autonomous mode the drone uses on-board cameras with artificial intelligence to find and identify targets. It can then attack by flying into the target and detonating. STM claims the robot has sophisticated object and facial recognition capability.

    ...

    Details of the apparent attack have emerged in a report by the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya, published in March 2021. It details a civil war conflict in March 2020 between forces allied to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which has since been dissolved, and those affiliated to Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army.

    The report says that retreating Haftar forces were “hunted down” by Kargu-2 drones operating autonomously, which were “highly effective”. “The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true ‘fire, forget and find’ capability,” notes the report. In other words, the drones were able to seek and attack targets without a human in the loop."

    Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2278852-drones-may-have-attacked-humans-fully-autonomously-for-the-first-time/#ixzz6wSUwNR00

    As these drones used or were capable of using automatic facial recognition to determine their targets, it is a worrying development for anyone who was wrongly identified by an IT system.

    1. JWLong Bronze badge

      Re: Autonomous Drone Attack on People

      Sir, are you lost?

  30. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "Bah, who is Black"

    No, he's black.

  31. Mike 40

    What I've learned.

    Whenever I go shoplifting in an Apple store, I need to carry my Tim Cook fake ID.

  32. ronkee

    Tuttle?

    Or Buttle

    Also a 4am arrest does sound like a nightmare.

  33. Balcom

    The Americans have got form for imposing this sort of misery on people.

    See here -

    https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/man-arrested-for-bank-robbery-files-10-million-suit-against-denver-police-department

  34. lotus123

    Those m..f..s were going to land innocent person to jail. I know it is not going to happen but I wish Apple would be slapped like with 10% of their last year end revenue fine and whoever deleted the evidence and lied would be charged criminally.

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