Apple Supplier Pegatron Uses Facial Recognition to Screen Workers
While in the middle of a scandal surrounding the death of a 15-year-old employee at one of the company’s Shanghai factories, Apple’s manufacturing partner, Pegatron, revealed that it uses advanced facial recognition technology to ensure workers are who they are they are. Pegatron supposedly employs a three-step identity verification process designed to confirm that applicants meet all legal requirements for employment.
First and foremost, an applicant’s Resident Identity Card, which is a plastic card that appears similar to an American driver’s license, is scanned and its authenticity is confirmed. Resident identity cards are issued by the Chinese central government and are backed by a database containing a detailed personal history. Facial recognition is then used to compare the applicant’s face to the photo on the card. Last but not least, the applicant’s name is cross-checked with local and national police databases.
The news comes less than one week after the death of Shi Zhaokun, a 15-year old boy who gained employment at Pegatron’s iPhone 5C plant by using forged documentation and ended up dying of pneumonia just one month after starting work. Shi’s death was found to be unrelated to his work at the factory, though Chinese labor activists are still claiming for information related to the deaths of four other Pegatron workers in recent months.
As the economy in China continues to grow, ensuring compliance with local laws which prohibit, among other things, employing children under the age of 16, is becoming more difficult for manufacturers who need to fill tens of thousands of seats on assembly lines throughout the country. Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct expressly forbids the hiring of underage workers, with the Cupertino California company even going as far as severing ties with one supplier earlier this year after the supplier was found to be responsible for 74 underage labor violations.
Source: The Wall Street Journal