updated 09:43 am EST, Mon December 16, 2013
Faces matched to ID photos
Following criticism surrounding several worker deaths, Apple supplier Pegatron has reportedly implemented facial-recognition technology to screen for underage workers. The technology, which is said to have been introduced earlier this year, uses computers to help verify that workers are not using borrowed identification cards, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The Taiwan-based company came under fire last week due to the death of 15-year-old worker Shi Zhaokun from a plant that assembles Apple's iPhone 5c. Previous reports claimed the teenager borrowed an ID card from an older relative to circumvent the minimum working age of 16, however the latest information suggests his ID card included the correct picture but falsified identity details.
It is unclear if the identity authentication system was in use when Shi Zhaokun was hired. He only worked for a month before succumbing to pneumonia. Both Apple and Pegatron have argued that the sickness was unrelated to conditions on the factory floor, though his family claims to have found logs showing nearly 280 hours of work in less than a month before his death.
Apple claims to be collaborating with its Chinese suppliers to improve working conditions and address concerns amid pressure from labor activist groups. Despite the negative report focusing on Pegatron, competing supplier Foxconn was praised last week for making improvements in its factories.