In the wake of the scandal involving the death of a 15-year-old Pegatron worker, the Apple supplier has revealed that it uses facial recognition technology in an attempt to verify the identity of workers.
The revelation comes less than one week after Shi Zhaokun, a 15-year-old boy who gained employment at Pegatron’s iPhone 5c plant by using forged documentation, died 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 clamoring for information related to the deaths of four other Pegatron workers in recent months.
Pegatron’s process involves a three-step method. First, an applicant’s Resident Identity Card, which is similar to an American driver’s license, is scanned and checked for authenticity. Facial recognition software is then used to compare the applicant’s face to the photo on the card. And finally, the applicant’s name is cross-checked with local and national police databases.
In the face of China’s ever-growing workforce, compliance with labor laws becomes ever more difficult to enforce.
Apple’s own Supplier Code of Conduct states that the hiring of underage workers is expressly forbidden, and the Cupertino firm severed ties with one supplier earlier this year following the revelation that the supplier was responsible for 74 underage labor violations.