Apple Watch blood oxygen has racial bias, claims new lawsuit

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San Francisco, Dec 28 (IANS) A lawsuit filed against Apple has claimed that its Watch’s blood oxygen sensor is racially biased against people with dark skin tones.

According to AppleInsider, plaintiff Alex Morales, who bought an Apple Watch between 2020 and 2021, said he was aware that the device has pulse oximetry features, and believed it did this without regard to skin tone.

“For decades, there have been reports that such devices were significantly less accurate in measuring blood oxygen levels based on skin colour,” the lawsuit alleges.

“The ‘real world significance’ of this bias lay unaddressed until the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which converged with a greater awareness of structural racism which exists in many aspects of society,” it added.

Further, the lawsuit claimed that researchers “confirmed the clinical significance of racial bias of pulse oximetry using records of patients taken during and before the pandemic.”

As a result, “reliance on pulse oximetry to triage patients and adjust supplemental oxygen levels may place Black patients at increased risk for hypoxemia”.

On December 24, Morales filed the lawsuit on behalf of all New York consumers who purchased Apple Watches during the limitation period, according to the report.

The lawsuit also accuses Apple of breaches of express warranty, fraud, and unjust enrichment, claiming violations of New York General Business Law and State Consumer Fraud Acts, the report added.

In June, Apple faced a class-action lawsuit seeking damages worth $935 million in the UK over intentionally slowing down the performance of older iPhones to encourage customers to buy newer models. The lawsuit accused Apple of abusing its market dominance to engage in exploitative and unfair commercial practices.

–IANS

shs/vd

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