Is this for real?
Only in the US of A.
An Apple Store in the US state of Georgia refused to sell an iPad to an American teenager because she spoke the Iranian language Farsi in the store. A student in the nearby city of Atlanta was also banned from buying an iPhone for the same reason, according to a report by local TV channel WSBTV. "I just can't sell this to you …
Ahem, chill pill needed by others too.
1) "Only in USA" is not the same as "All Americans". While being an important center of cultural and scientific progress, it's also the promised land of extreme nutjobs and bigots.
2) You can't deny the US has a recent history of security hysteria, Americans themselves being its biggest critics. Do I need to point you to "Security Theater", tazings, flight blacklists etc. ad nauseam?
State-run website Cubadebate reports that attempts to access Google Analytics direct people to the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control website. Cubadebate also slams the move as "outrageous censorship," criticizing Google for blocking Analytics in addition to previous blocks on other tools like Google Earth, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, and Google Code Search.
>Only in the US of A.
Yeah unfortunately not only were we stupid enough to not let the South US walk away like we should have in the mid 1800s (whats another 3rd world country to the south?) but we even gave them back the right to vote even after they committed the ultimate form of high treason. Even today many in the region care more about controlling the behavior of others than doing whats right for the country.
I had a quick look around and according to her:
"She called customer relations, received an apology, and bought the iPad online."
So Apple's sorted it out the way it should and is now left with a PR disaster caused by two imbeciles. Better than the response she would have received from Jobs - "you're speaking the words wrong".
But this was in the USA and the US Treasury enforces conditions like that for individuals - even those resident in the USA - if it's suspected the purchase may end up being exported to a Iran or Syria.
There's a lot of regulation concerning that see the page below for details:
For example a recent presidential order, signed by Mr Obama himself:
I'm not saying that staff were correct, but not saying they were wrong either. I think only the US Treasury and OFAC will be able to provide an answer. Maybe Ms Leach could ask them?
Is speaking a foreign language prima facie evidence of intent to export the device to a foreign country? If she had stood in the store and said "This will be great back in Tehran" then they might have had some justification for declining to sell under export restrictions but to do so merely as a result of using a foreign language is ridiculous.
Stupid. Ignorant. Dumb as all fuck.
Mind you, the whole US export prohibitions are a farce anyway...
Anyone could buy a suitcase full of them and just drive across the border.
It's even worse that these are the very countries that the American corporate cartels are exporting "Peace and Democracy to the middle east" - with weapons, CIA plants, political and social destabilisation, and installing armies of occupation in...
Then they say, "These countries are the (enemy) acting against US interests, by resisting being declared war on - for their oil.... and the toppling of their own popularly elected governments.
Moron shop staff and moronically evil sanctions.
Based on "one incident by a redneck" where it's actually two incidents in two separate stores, and involving at least three Apple employees.
If it really was just "one incident by a redneck" then that would suggest a stupid "Genius" - but that it's more than one incident in more than one store suggests the problem is higher up the chain. It might not be Apple's actual policy, but it's certainly a problem somewhere in Apple.
Atlanta is pretty cosmopolitan thus the students with international backgrounds living there.
Very weird making stores the gatekeepers though. That's what customs officials are for: person has electronic equipment with them? check boarding cards and massive database and follow instructions.
Not only the USA have export restrictions to a number of countries.
I don't know where you live, but try to ship a computer from there to Iran and see how that goes. Your local authorities will most probably become quite anal about it (literally as well) or have you move up a couple on pages on their watch list for quite some time (hence the Big Brother icon).
Don't forget that most of Iranian nuclear technology came from (illegal) exports from the Netherlands, while a lot of current tech leaders were trained in the USA (before 1979) and France ....
Read the report.
The young lady said "The iPad was to be a gift for her cousin who lives in Iran." So it was to be exported - contrary to current Administration thinking "A representative for the U.S. State Department told Viteri it is illegal to travel to Iran with laptops or satellite cellphones without U.S. authorization"
That's not to say one could be successfully exported via another country.........Doh!
In Appleland (TM), that rule has been gold-plated to mean no selling to Iranians resident in the US, nationalised Iranians, or their descendents.
However you can employ as many Iranians as you want who presumably can get into the store cupboard.
After reading this story I think El Reg web needs to develop a new icon which combines downthumb, WTF, fail, sad face, devil, pissed-off, explosion, facepalm, hazard, Big Brother and fanboi.
So, they keep that Iranian employee well away from all their stock in case he tries to get his hands on any? Right? ... Sounds very much illegal to me, anyway, hopefully someone like the ACLU will give Apple a good kicking there.
Now, if only someone could make Apple UK replace the faulty fraying Magsafe power supplies like the US stores do - apparently they'll only admit it's a design fault if you live somewhere litigious.
...any US company is liable for high-tech products which are sold and subsequently exported to 'rogue' states. You can usually see exclusions in the T&Cs of sale.
I worked for an American company in Europe some decades ago. We received an official directive from the legal department saying we shouldn't do any business with Libyan companies, which included filling up at the the local Tamoil petrol stations, which were Libyan co-owned.
No, this is interpretation. The law does not make any statements about the nationality of the buyer, only that it is illegal to export to certain countries. Interestingly, the question if it was for export (the sole condition) was never asked. This means you have indeed a case of racial profiling, and I'm interested in how Apple is going to answer/spin this as the actions of the employee are simply wrong.
BTW, the US misses a trick here. Surely it would be of value to get a location-enabled device in the hands of the bad guys as it would reduce the collateral damage to a drone strike? On the other hand, I guess plenty of Android phones may already be doing that work, as Google is already set up with an NSA link (at least, that's what I read from the Chinese affair)..
"BTW, the US misses a trick here. Surely it would be of value to get a location-enabled device in the hands of the bad guys as it would reduce the collateral damage to a drone strike?"
Erm, you know that "the bad guys" doesn't equal "all Iranians", right? So giving a location-enabled device to an Iranian wouldn't help. I'm fairly convinced that drone operators know where Iran is, without relying on a local to carry a GPS device back to their country.
Not true. Unfortunately the export control laws are extremely broad and strict.
Letting a foreign national even SEE prohibited technology is considered an export.
It is not necessary to actually ship a physical piece of technology to a 'banned' country. Showing the technology to a foreign national of said banned country is enough. Even accidentally letting them glimpse it is illegal.
This is a strict interpretation of the law. Should Apple follow it this religiously? Legally, yes and so should everyone. Is it practical? Probably not.
I read an article about a company being fined for exporting paint to a company who subsequently sold a painted product for inclusion in a nuclear plant. Paint, for god sake !!!???
It should be a shock, but the cynic in me knows Apple are only interested in white twenty somethings.
The fact they would openly profile visitors to their stores is an insidious look into the core of Apple, condoned and forced policy from the big wigs, no "genius" would do that without coaching, nobody anywhere in any service industry would do it without direct policy.
It's not just Apple products that are banned for export to Iran / Cuba and North Korea. Dell has the same policy, as does HP and other manufacturers who use US components that are deemed within the legislation (e.g. Intel CPUs).
I had a visitor from Iran wanting a laptop. It was ordered online from Dell, declaring that it would be exported. A call was received from Dell and they politely declined - stating the policy. I told the visitor and the solution was for them to go to PC World and buy a Sony Laptop - they did - the salesman was even told it would be exported to Iran and none of the paperwork required a declaration stating it would not be - he was most interested in selling a case and extended warranty (even though it was to be exported).
There are computer trade shows in Iran - you can get what you want, kit is exported from the UAE, Kuwait and other nearby states. No one is going to build a supercomputer to simulate nuclear explosions using a bank of iPads - this sort of embargo is purely political, I doubt it has much positive effect - all it will do is irritate Iranians abroad who most probably don't like the regime in their country.
"No one is going to build a supercomputer to simulate nuclear explosions using a bank of iPads"
Well I dont expect that Sony saw this one coming either when they unleashed their games console on the world:
which contains the quote "About the 33rd largest supercomputer in the world right now is the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) newest system, which has a core made of 1,760 Sony PlayStation 3 <snip> making it the fastest interactive computer in the entire US Defense Department. "
And the article is only about a year and a half old. Who knows what devilment the fondleslab could unleash on the world if clustered in a similar way.
The PS3's Cell chip was always designed to be clustered, and the console originally allowed Linux to be run on it. Trouble is, the US DOD was buying the hardware, but not the money-making games. As if to rub it in Sony's face, you occasionally see DOD staff with an XBOX 360 controller in their hands...
Reg report: "However, Shabet says she lives in America and has no intention of exporting the device."
Linked TV station report: "The iPad was to be a gift for her cousin who lives in Iran"
Unless she thinks that sending it to her cousin in Iran somehow doesn't count as exporting it to Iran?
Sounds like the Apple Store employee probably made the right call if he overheard her saying she was sending it to Iran.
"Sounds like the Apple Store employee probably made the right call if he overheard her saying she was sending it to Iran."
Yeah, what a fscking hero...! Seriously what are you smoking? Should she be denied buying food and water if a supermarket employee overhears her talking about sending a packet of Reeces Pieces to her cousin in Iran? So trade embargoes are now in force on persons now?
I guess the US doesn't need the ICE, CBP or Department of State because don't worry, sales assistants across America have their own private blacklist of who should be sold to and who shouldn't. If someone is exporting something from Apple that they bought, it must be legit right? - No need for a customs declaration or import/export duties - because it was already approved by an Apple sales assistant!!!
Let's here it for the brave Apple store employee, and also those brave hero's who surf twitter all day monitoring and reporting tourrarists before they attempt to cross the border into the homeland.
This is not true from Apple's perspective.
Apple are based in the US hence the worldwide operations must adhere to US export control laws.
This is true for all US based companies and all companies which have any presence in the US.
It is illegal for a UK based Apple employee to 'export' to a foreign national from a 'banned' country.
Note, this does not have to be a physical item, as knowledge is considered just as important as a physical item, so in theory even showing an iPad to a foreign national from Iran could be considered an 'export'
Does it make sense? Not much. Is it practical? No. Is it the law? Yes.
Think we need to put this into perspective - basically a drop in the ocean - you are always going to get perhaps overzealous employees sticking to the letter of the law / policies a bit too enthusiastically.
If some companies selling 'reinforced' super(gun) pipeline tubes were bit more conscientious it could solve some problems! You can't really blame Apple for NOT selling - after all they make no profit and therefore do not benefit from the employees over-cautiousness.
Things might have changed but back when I was getting licences for military, nuclear and space stuff, there was one great big get out clause in the US regulations.
If the product was generally available retail then no licence was ever required.
So rad hardened chips for a satellite (yes, we did indeed ship those a few times to Russia) needed a licence. Same functionality without the rad hardening which could be bought off the shelf at Fry's did not.
Top end SPARC machine needed a licence. x386 did not.
Apple "Genius":"Yeah, but they were brown and speaking something that wasn't american so it was logical that they are terrorists"
Interviewer : "You do know American is just English yes?"
Apple "Genius": "It's that talk which put a moslem, iranian, african, gay, jewish, black, brown, orange and possibly chinese man in the white house"
The staff member was Iranian himself- perhaps insecurity over his place in his adopted country made him more zealous than, say, a WASP employee might have been- and he overheard the shopper tell her dad, in Farsi, that the iPad was for cousin in Iran, which would violate the rules laid down by the government of the country he lived in. The rules state that the retailer is liable. He wants to keep his job, when there are not many jobs going begging.
When the issue was escalated, it was rectified.
If you give signs of not having read the thoroughly, you comment will carry less weight.
The employee overheard her saying in Farsi she was buying it for her cousin in Iran.
The employee was Iranian, so aware of the export restrictions to Iran, because you tend to be aware of things you consider injust, or weird, related to your own nationality.
He told her they couldn't sell it if it was going to be exported to Iran, IT'S ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO KNOWINGLY SELL IT FOR THAT PURPOSE.
Not sure exactly what he was supposed to do really, what are we suggesting?
"Shabet says she lives in America and has no intention of exporting the device."
She was attempting to purchase the product to gift to a cousin in Iran. You cannot export to Iran!!! This isn't a simple anti-Arab thing, it's a FEDERAL LAW.
Welcome to America. Cry and whine when you attempt to violate federal law and everyone will feel sorry for you.
is because the fondleslab could be used to expose sensitive sheltered Iranians to all of the decadent and evil things that go on in the rest of the world. You forget that Iran is largely a Muslim country. How are the Iranians supposed to keep the `little ones` eyes from seeing such perversion as Madonna showing her nipples???
Someone's got to say it: "Think of the children!"
OK el Reg, how about an Ayatollah icon, or would that be blasphemy?
Paris, because, well, she would just cause so much consternation for those fundamentalists.
It's the USA... land of the brave, home of the paranoid.
I once tried to buy a replacement car charger for my Garmin Nuvi direct from Garmin. I received a response that my order had been cancelled as federal regulations prohibited its export.
I live in Canada... you can buy the charger in BestBuy.
The really beautiful thing was that the employee who refused to sell the iPad tot eh Farsi speaker, could recognise Farsi, because they were from Iran.
So you can sell a single iPad to someone with possible Iranian connections, but it's OK to leave someone who is actually from Iran in charge of the store...?
Ah, America, it'sa beautiful thing.
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1) There's a difference between an export restriction vs. a retail restriction.
2) In the past, Apple has paid shoppers to stand in line and make it appear they were having difficulties buying the latest gizmo.
3) Myself, I have personally experienced being turned down by an individual store to purchase a popular product. I walked out and purchased it elsewhere. No tears. No news stories. No drama.
4) Waiting a few weeks or a few months often resolves out-of-stock or unavailable "issues."
Export regulations govern sending items like this to some countries, Iran included.
In 1981 while I was selling computers with the Byte Shop NW (with the Terrell brothers who ordered the first 50 Apple II's), I had a customer from the Peoples School of Forestry in Nanking China who wanted and Atari800. I had to investigate the export rules (I needed clearance) and we actually started the permit process to get permission for them to take it. It was taking too long so the customer, who knew a ships captain had that captain take it in his cabin.
The employee should be commended for being aware of the law and being a "good employee" and protecting her employers interest.
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