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Bryan M. Wolfe
| December 16, 2013
Apple-Supplier Pegatron Is Using Facial Recognition Technology To Screen Workers
Apple-supplier Pegatron is using facial recognition technology to screen applicants. Details about this screening have surfaced just weeks after the death of an underage employee at Pegatron’s Chinese-based iPhone plant, according to The Wall Street Journal. Since the beginning of the year, Pegatron has been using facial recognition technology to thwart the hiring of underage workers. To do so, the company matches the photos on government-issued IDs with those taken at the plant. They also check names against police records. This process should weed out most underage workers, since China doesn’t issue government IDs until a person reaches the legal working ago of 16. However, as the case of 15-year-old Shi Zhaokun shows, the system isn’t perfect. According to Pegatron, Shi was able to obtain a government-issued ID card that included his photo but another person’s identifying information. Instead of 15, Shi told Pegatron he was 20. Shi died of pneumonia in October. This came after the employee had often worked 12 hours a days, six days a week at the Apple-supplier. Apple and Pegatron have both said that Shi’s death was not work related. They each contend that working conditions at Chinese plants have improved in recent years. The Fair Labor Association (FLA) tends to agree. They recently announced that Apple-supplier Foxconn is now limiting working hours to 60 hours per week at its Chinese-based factories. In a statement, FLA President and Chief Executive Auret van Heerden said “FLA’s expectation is that Apple, working with Foxconn, will continue to rigorously monitor working hours to ensure that they comply with the FLA standard of 60 hours per week but also make progress toward the Chinese legal limit of 49 hours per week.” Last year, Apple commissioned an investigation, by the FLA, of suppliers’ factories in China. This followed numerous reports in recent years about unsafe working conditions at Apple’s largest supplier. Photo: Inhabitat