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

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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 that Apple and SIS exhibited reckless disregard for the truth by misidentifying Bah as the perpetrator of multiple shoplifting crimes at iStores, leading to his unjustified arrest and to his defamation.

The filing [PDF] in US District Court in Massachusetts aims to revive charges relevant to events in Boston that were excluded from related ongoing litigation in New York. A third related case is being heard in New Jersey.

Apple and SIS have a qualified law enforcement privilege that allows them to err in store security-related accusations and not be sued for it. However, if they exhibit “reckless disregard for the truth” [PDF] – ignoring obvious facts, for example, they lose that privilege.

Among the more startling allegations in the case is that an SIS VP falsely claimed that no SIS employee ever identified Bah to the NYPD or to Apple. The complaint points to an exhibit that’s been submitted as evidence, an email from an SIS employee to an NYPD detective does in fact identify Bah as a shoplifter.

The lawsuit also claims that Apple and SIS selectively deleted video evidence that would have exposed them to potential criminal and civil liability for filing false complaints with the police.

In addition, it asserts Bah’s apprehension was in part due to the application of unreliable facial-recognition technology in the shoplifting incidents in New York.

Bah, who is Black, obtained a New York State temporary learner driver’s permit in March 2018 at the age of 17, when he was an honors student at Bronx Latin Academy, a New York City high school. The document included his height, weight, date of birth, and eye color, but no photograph.

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.

ID or not ID

In Greenwich, Connecticut in April 2018, Apple allegedly detained an individual for stealing store merchandise and identified the individual as Ousmane Bah based on the examination of the temporary learner’s permit he is said to have had on him – this despite the fact that the ID says, “This temporary document is not to be used for identification purposes.”

The complaint states that the person detained was not Bah, who is 5’7″ but a 6’1″ impostor using the lost temporary learner’s permit. Nonetheless, Apple personnel are said to have retained some video surveillance evidence and published the record with the name “Ousmane Bah” through an online system to make it available to SIS and Apple Stores in the Northeastern US.

On May 24, 2018, SIS, acting in a security capacity for Apple, apprehended and handcuffed the impostor for allegedly stealing merchandise from a Parmus, New Jersey Apple Store. Again, it’s claimed the impostor was carrying Bah’s lost learner’s permit and identified himself as such to authorities or tried to do so – the detained individual is said to have misspelled his stolen name as “Ousama Bah” before correcting the spelling.

Yet the Paramus Police Department apparently did not make any further effort to verify the suspect’s identity, content to accept the identification provided by the SIS employee who apprehended the shoplifter. It’s also claimed SIS told authorities it had video evidence.

“Without probable cause, SIS began linking prior thefts in the region involving the impostor to the Plaintiff,” the complaint says, with SIS representing to police that video of these other thefts, such as one at the Short Hills Apple Store near Millburn, NJ on May 5, 2018.

At this point, it’s alleged that SIS, on behalf of Apple, distributed a “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) notice with the impostor’s image but the name “Ousmane Bah” as a “known shoplifter.” This is said to have been sent not only to Apple Stores but to police departments in the region.

Then there was the May 31, 2018 theft of a dozen Apple Pencils from an Apple Store in Boston. It’s claimed that an SIS employee in his police report accused Ousmane Bah – who was not in Massachusetts at the time – of the thefts and said there was video to back that up.

According to the complaint, the video depicted the impostor, not Bah, and Apple and SIS had information at the time that their identification of Bah was unreliable and therefore were reckless in their accusation.

In June 2018, Bah appeared in Boston Municipal Court to answer the charges and his attorney asked Apple and SIS to present the video evidence of the thefts to prove his client’s innocence. Apple then told the Suffolk County prosecutor “that the video evidence of the impostor, which would have completely exculpated Ousmane Bah, had been routinely deleted.”

The video from an October 2018 theft misattributed to Bah in Rockaway, New Jersey, was also deleted. Apple and SIS are said to have told the New York court that neither firm has any written policy on video retention.

And as it turned out, the video of the Boston incident turned up eventually – Bah’s attorneys found it during the discovery process. It showed the impostor, not Bah.

On September 18, 2018, the impostor is said to have struck at an Apple Store in Freehold, New Jersey, and escaped. An SIS employee acting on Apple’s behalf again filed a police complaint. The complaint charges that both Apple and SIS knew that identification was unreliable but accused Bah anyway.

The identity of the impostor would be revealed in the following months, the complaint says, when the impostor twice tried to pass himself off as Bah in New York and twice was arrested and booked.

“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,” the complaint says. “These arrests specifically [noted] that Barrie had pretended to be Ousmane Bah.”

There were more Apple Store thefts in October 2018, the previously mentioned one in Rockaway, New Jersey, and another incident in Trumbull, Connecticut. Apple and SIS again told authorities that Bah was to blame.

Facial failure

Also that month, the impostor is said to have hit an Apple Store in Staten Island, New York. A New York police detective, it’s claimed, published details of the crime and a store video screenshot to a reporting service used by the NYPD called MetrORCA.

The detective subsequently submitted an information request “to the NYPD’s Facial Identification Section (FIS), which identified the photograph as potentially depicting two people, one of whom was purportedly Ousmane Bah – and the other was the actual thief, Mamadou Barrie.”

The complaint further notes that FIS policy is that automated identification is not sufficient to provide the probable cause necessary to make an arrest. Shortly thereafter, an SIS employee saw the MetrORCA bulletin and emailed the NYPD detective to tell him that Apple and SIS had identified Bah as the Staten Island thief.

Around 0400 ET, on November 29, 2018, Paramus Police Department, under a warrant obtained by NYPD, arrested Bah for the New York thefts.

“The warrant issued for Bah’s arrest contained the photo of the impostor (now known to be Mamadou Barrie),” the complaint says, adding that “Barrie in no way physically resembles the Plaintiff, other than being Black.”

Despite the inconsistency noted at the time of the arrest, police took him into custody. This was while Bah was still being wrongfully prosecuted in Boston.

At the New York precinct, police recognized that Bah was not the individual in Apple’s images and charges were dropped.

Two days later, on December 1, 2018, SIS employees apprehended the impostor trying to steal merchandise from an Apple Store in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Holyoke police forwarded the suspects fingerprints to the FBI’s National Criminal Identification Center and they were identified as belonging to Mamadou Barrie.

Yet two weeks later, Bah received a mailed notice of a warrant from the Freehold County District Court for his arrest for the Freehold theft based on the information provided by Apple and SIS.

Around that time, with an SIS employee appearing in a New Jersey court to press charges against the Cherry Hill, New Jersey thefts, a different individual with the same name “Ousmane Bah,” this one a resident of Willingboro, New Jersey, showed up for the summons. He was not the thief, the complaint says, and the charges against Ousmane Bah from New York were dropped.

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

Presently, the attorneys representing Bah, Daniel Malis and Subhan Tariq, are pursuing lawsuits against Apple and SIS in New York, New Jersey, and now Massachusetts.

Neither Apple nor SIS responded to requests for comment. ®

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Angharad Yeo: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

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I am a child of the internet. I was always drawn to computers and tech, and used to beg my dad to bring us to his office on a weekend so we could use the high-speed internet to play Neopets games. As I got older it was all MSN, MySpace, Paramore fan forums, Tumblr, Twitter and now TikTok. I want nothing more than to zone out and look at my little pictures.

One of my favourite things about the internet is that it allows you to see everyone’s best joke. The moment in their life where they were at their absolute funniest – whether it be because they had a moment of brilliant wit or because they got pulled through a panel roof while practising for a high school play (I assume).

The internet has rotted my brain with the following content. Please now allow it to rot yours.

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The Pandemic Years have (and continue to be) difficult for everyone. Who among us has not, at one time or another, needed to just explain themselves by saying: “It’s mental illness, innit?”

2. Perfect burger

When I showed this video to my fiancee, she flatly said: “I like how absurdist it is.” That’s her code for, “I don’t get it, but I’m happy you’re happy.” And I am happy. Look at how confident and brave this burger is – ready to take on the world, come what may. I wish to be the burger.

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I have been to court precisely once because I inadvertently got in a cop’s way and he was grumpy about it so he booked me. The penalty was dismissed but not before I cried in front of the judge trying to explain what happened because I was so stressed out. Court is a daunting place and I simply cannot imagine walking in there with any level of irreverence. However, I’m extremely glad there are people who simply do not care, will say whatever damn thing and then an internet angel turns them into TikToks.

4. Turtle choir

This tweet is made all the more majestic by the vaguely threatening Sylvanian Families-style profile picture, on a Twitter account named @bigfatmoosepssy.

5. Trying coffee with pasta water

Climate change is slowly turning the Earth into a barren ball of pain as Mother Nature smacks us for being extremely bad. Even though individual responsibility for climate change isn’t enough to turn the tide, I still applaud those who try. Twitter user @madibskatin woke up in the morning and decided to be the change she wants to see in the world, tastebuds be damned. One could argue that it’s pretty obvious that pasta water isn’t going to make a good coffee but like my dad says as he puts pineapple juice in his coffee: “If no one tries it, how will we know? What if it’s secretly good?”

6. Soaring, flying

If you look closely, this video is actually a metaphor for the ways in which we attempt to break free from our circumstances, yet are entirely at the mercy of them.

7. You cannot trick me

This may be a parody Twitter account, but the spirit of Gail Walden speaks truths. There is no victory sweeter than that which is gained on thine enemy’s own soil.

8. Self-deprecating jokes

Humour is a coping mechanism. I am coping.

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Dairy products are delicious. Ice-cream? Revolutionary. Cheese? Life-changing. Whipped cream on a pavlova? Essential. But milk? Disgusting. It’s not a drink, it’s a stepping stone to greater things.

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I am absolutely 100% not at all lactose intolerant (I promise) so I don’t relate to this video at all (not even a bit).

Angharad Yeo is the host of Double J Weekends, 9am – midday, Saturdays and Sundays.



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F5 cuts revenue 2022 forecasts amid low network chip stocks • The Register

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The artist formerly know as F5 Networks – it moved to plain old F5 in November – is clipping revenue forecasts for fiscal ’22 by $30m to $90m because it can’t source enough specialised chips to produce systems.

The continued impact of the shortfall was outlined in F5’s Q1 results to 31 December and subsequent earnings conference call, during which chief exec François Locoh-Donou opened up on the challenge of suppliers cancelling orders because they can’t meet demand.

“As a result of persistent strong system demand, our systems backlog continued to grow in Q1,” he said. “Over the last 30 days, suppliers of critical components that span a number of our platforms have informed us of significant increases in decommits.

“These came in the form of both order delivery delays and sudden and pronounced reduction in shipment quantities. The step function decline in components availability is significantly restricting our ability to meet our customers’ continued strong demand for our systems.

“Like others in the industry, we are seeing worsening availability of specialized networking chipsets. Within the last 30 days, we have learned that deliveries for 52-week lead time components or at a year ago have been pushed out and that our expected quantities have been reduced.”

Group turnover grew 10 per cent year-on-year to $687m in F5’s Q1, fuelled by a 47 per cent leap in software to $163m, 2 per cent in services to $344m, and 1 per cent in hardware to $180m.

“Our software transition continues to gain momentum,” said Locoh-Donou, adding later in the earnings call: “While we are solely disappointed that supply chain challenges have gated our ability to fulfil customer demand for systems in the near term, we are more confident than ever in our position, our strategy and our long-term opportunity.”

The backlog grew by 10 per cent so the sales pipeline is looking healthy, said the exec, who was at great pains throughout the call to tell analysts: “It absolutely is a supply issue. And the revision we’ve just done to our annual guidance is 100 per cent linked to the supply issue.”

For the year, F5 now expects sales to grow 4-8 per cent ($610m to $650m).

“The issue with our supply chain has deteriorated steadily. And last year, we were not able to ship the demand, which is why our backlog grew so much during the year.

“Things have been getting worse. And at the beginning of our fiscal year, when we were doing the planning for this year, we actually took into account the number of decommits that we were getting from various suppliers and a situation that was already very tight on a number of components.”

He said in the past month it was seeing more than 400 cancellations from suppliers, “and we were running about 30 per cent less than that even just a month ago – the situation is quite unprecedented.”

In a bid to ameliorate the supply situation, F5 said it is working to design and qualify replacement parts – which may improve thing in the second half of the year. It is also trying to pre-order more components.

F5 is confident that it will not see orders cancelled. “The demand we have is very real. Our lead times, unfortunately, have gotten progressively worse over the last five, six quarters, but we haven’t seen any increase in order cancellation, and we don’t expect to see that going forward,” Locoh-Donou stated.

Supply chain problems with silicon components have been hitting companies in the IT industry and beyond for multiple quarters now, and networking vendors are no less vulnerable.

Last year, Arista warned that lead times for key chips were extending out to 60 weeks, twice what would be expected before the pandemic. Both Arista and Juniper announced they were being forced to bump up prices in November, while Cisco warned its buyers and investors that supply chain issues were likely to persist for several months more, although it expected to see some improvement in the situation for Q3 and Q4, taking us into the second half of 2022. ®

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Cork data centre equipment maker Edpac acquired for €29m

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Munters, a Swedish air treatment technology company, will use the Edpac acquisition to expand into the European market.

Irish data centre equipment manufacturer Edpac has been acquired by Swedish company Munters in a €29m deal.

Based in Carrigaline, Co Cork, Edpac manufactures cooling equipment and air handling systems for data centres in the European market, with additional sales in the Middle East, South America and Asia.

For Munters, which has significant operations in North America, the acquisition is an opportunity for it to expand in the European market. Once complete, the deal will see the transfer of Munters’ technologies and engineering capabilities to Ireland.

“The European data centre market is a prioritised segment for Munters, and the acquisition is a significant step in our growth strategy,” said Klas Forsström, president and chief executive of Munters.

Forsström said that Munters’ experience in the North American market will provide Edpac with “opportunities for further profitable growth” by collaborating on “technology development and establishing unified processes”.

Edpac has two manufacturing facilities in Ireland – Newmarket and Carrigaline – and employs around 150 people in the country. Currently a manufacturing partner for Munters, Edpac sees approximately 7pc of its revenue come from the sale of Munters products.

In the financial year ending April 2021, Edpac reported net sales of €17m and earnings before tax of €1.7m. According to The Irish Times, Edpac managing director Noel Lynch has led the company since it was bought from its Swiss parent in 1991.

“We are excited to welcome Edpac to Munters. Edpac brings an attractive, differentiated customer base and high-quality products,” Forsström said, adding that Edpac’s operating model “is a perfect match with Munters ways of working.”

Founded in 1955, Munters aims to create energy efficient air treatment technologies for customers in a wide range of industries. Listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, it employees 3,300 employees across 30 countries – with annual sales exceeding 7bn Swedish krona in 2020.

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