Apple Supplier Pegatron Uses Facial Recognition to Screen for Underage Workers

Pegatron, the factory that produces Apple's iPhone 5c, has implemented facial recognition technology to pre-screen potential employees ahead of hiring in order to prevent the company from hiring underage workers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

pegatron-office
Underage workers pose a serious threat to Apple suppliers as Apple has a strict policy against the hiring of workers under 16, China's legal working age. Earlier this year, Apple dropped Pingzhou Electronics as a supplier after multiple violations for hiring underage employees.

To screen for underage workers, Pegatron, which implemented the technology earlier this year, reportedly checks government-issued IDs for authenticity, with the faces matched to their ID photos using facial recognition. This is designed to prevent employees from using fake IDs or IDs borrowed from other people.

Last week, a 15-year-old Pegatron factory worker, Shi Zhaokun, died of pneumonia, bringing underage labor violations into the spotlight once again. The employee reportedly used a fake ID to acquire the job, and according to Pegatron, though he too went through the same security checks, he used a fake ID with his actual photo to bypass the facial recognition system.

In theory, these measures should keep out underage workers, as they should catch people using fake or borrowed IDs. In Mr. Shi's case, he was able to obtain a government-issued ID card that included his photo but another person's identifying information, the company said.

Apple, which voluntarily joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA) back in 2012, sent a team of doctors to investigate the incident. The company maintains a Supplier Responsibility section on its website and publishes yearly reports on worker welfare at its suppliers.

Apple has pledged to prevent excessive work hours, poor working conditions, unethical hiring policies, and the hiring of underage workers at the factories that supply Apple with parts. Despite Apple's efforts, Pegatron continually finds itself in the spotlight, last making headlines in July when a Chinese Labor Group accused Pegatron of numerous safety and workplace violations.

The FLA recently completed a status report on the working conditions at Foxconn, finding improvements in both working conditions and working hours, though the factory still violates the 49-hour work week mandated by Chinese law.

Top Rated Comments

lilgto64 Avatar
119 months ago
Are there any women here today?



Wow those factory jobs must just be so terrible that someone would use a fake ID to get a job there despite being underage. And let's blame Apple for allowing the occasional lapse in judgment or security etc that goes on in a foreign country in a separate company or in a young person's mind.

Regarding parents - maybe the kid is an orphan and was living in a van down by the river and figured this was his only way to make a better life for himself - and while we are at it lets blame Apple for poverty, illness, and human right's violations everywhere we can find them.

I doubt very much that anyone can design any system or process which will be 100% effective at deterring all future such cases. Which is not to say that it is okay to have an institutionalized policy whereby such violations are ignored or encouraged.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
godslabrat Avatar
119 months ago

Regarding parents - maybe the kid is an orphan and was living in a van down by the river and figured this was his only way to make a better life for himself - and while we are at it lets blame Apple for poverty, illness, and human right's violations everywhere we can find them.

This.

Just to be clear: When we find out about child workers at some factory in ______, we aren't talking about some nine-year-old who was pulled out of Calculus class in a private school one day so that he could make iPhones. We're talking about a child who has a job to support themselves, possibly a family, and whose only other alternative would likely be as a child prostitute. If you remove this child's ability to earn a real income (under whatever conditions), do you honestly think whatever happens next is going to improve their lives?

I don't defend labor abuse, and I would like to see manufacturing returned to the USA regardless. However, the idea that simply taking underage workers away from these jobs will be a human rights win is very shortsighted. What can be done about the situation as a whole? Can we change the social conditions that make child labor advantageous for anyone?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menel Avatar
119 months ago
U.S. companies needs to move manufacturing out of China and other countries that have no regard for basic human rights. If we stop letting China fix their currency exchange rate, then labor there would become much more expensive and it would no longer make economic sense to do business there.

Yes, send the Chinese laborers back to the over populated rice patties to starve in poverty.

Very humanitarian of you.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BrockC Avatar
119 months ago
My artificial beard business is booming
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iLoveiTunes Avatar
119 months ago
fake beard is going to be in big demand from here-on ;)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
devilbond Avatar
119 months ago
Pretty sure just being young didn't kill the kid. The other real problem is how a human being, regardless of age, can be enabled to die at work without any other staff noticing that they are sick.
We all, not just China, need to foster any development we can that will lead to a more empathetic, caring culture.

*holds hands with people on either side and sways*
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
magsafe duo perspective feature

Apple Releases New MagSafe Duo Firmware

Tuesday February 7, 2023 12:41 pm PST by
Apple today released updated firmware for the MagSafe Duo charger that is designed to work with the Apple Watch and MagSafe-compatible iPhone models. The new firmware is version 10M3063, but in the settings app, you'll see a 256.1067.0 version number, up from 186.0.0.0. The MagSafe Duo was first released in 2020 alongside the iPhone 12 models, and it has not had a firmware update before....
oneplus 11 3

Camera Comparison: Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. OnePlus 11 5G

Tuesday February 7, 2023 10:11 am PST by
Chinese smartphone company OnePlus today announced the official debut of the OnePlus 11 5G, which is the company's latest flagship smartphone. The device was already announced in China, but today marks the global launch so we thought we'd compare the OnePlus 11 5G to the iPhone 14 Pro Max to see how the camera measures up. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple's...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Orange

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 Software Updates

Monday February 6, 2023 10:13 am PST by
Apple today released new tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 software updates, with the software coming two weeks after the tvOS 16.3 and HomePod 16.3 updates were released. According to Apple's release notes for HomePod software 16.3.1, the update includes general performance and stability improvements. Notes for tvOS 16.3.1 are unavailable as of yet, but are probably similar to the HomePod...
iPhone 15 Pro Blue Feature

iPhone 15 Pro 'Buttonless Design' Rumors: Everything We Know

Monday February 6, 2023 7:44 am PST by
The iPhone 15 Pro models will feature a "buttonless design" thanks to additional Taptic Engines, according to multiple corroborated reports, so what do we know about the change so far? Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was first to report that the volume and power buttons on this year's two high-end iPhone models will adopt a solid-state design, similar to the iPhone 7's home button, replacing a...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
iphone ultra concept daehnert

'iPhone Ultra' Concept Envisions Apple's Rumored Future Top-Tier Smartphone

Tuesday February 7, 2023 5:38 am PST by
Apple has reportedly considered releasing a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside future Pro and Pro Max models, tentatively referred to as "iPhone Ultra," and one designer has taken it upon himself to envision what such a device could potentially look like. German industrial designer Jonas Daehnert came up with this impressive-looking concept (pictured) by marrying design elements of the...
Apple iPad 10th gen Magic Keyboard Folio Apple Pencil Feature Blue

Apple Could Break an iPad Tradition This Year

Wednesday February 8, 2023 3:13 am PST by
Apple usually releases a new entry-level iPad every year, but the current lineup and rumors for 2023 may indicate that this will be the first year when the company breaks this convention. When Apple introduced the 10th-generation iPad last year, it added the device to the lineup above the ninth-generation model from 2021. As a result, Apple currently sells both the ninth- and 10th-generation ...