Apple’s suppliers based in China have time and again been accused of labor violations. Cupertino has a strict Supplier Code of Conduct that its partners are expected to adhere to, earlier this year it ended its arrangement with a supplier after it was found to have employed 74 underage laborers. Recently Pegatron, Apple’s major manufacturer for the iPhone 5c, was the recipient of much criticism as it was revealed that an underage worker at one of its factories in Shanghai died. Pegatron has reiterated that it doesn’t hire underage workers, and it has detailed the three step verification process it uses to ensure that all legal requirements are met when hiring new workers.
Pegatron scans and confirms the authenticity of an applicant’s Resident Identity Card first, which looks similar to a U.S. drivers’ license. Then the company uses advanced facial recognition technology to match the application’s face with the photo on the card. In the end, the applicant’s name is cross checked with national and local police databases. Only then, the company says, the worker is employed. However, 15 year old Shi Zhaokun who passed away was able to get employed at the plant using a fake ID and just one month after he started working there, he died of pneumonia. Pegatron hasn’t said if Zhaokun was able to beat the process it has in place, but it holds the view that his death was not caused by working conditions at its Shanghai factory.