Amid rising allegations of worker abuse, Pegatron details its use of advanced facial recognition technology to ensure that potential underage workers aren’t able to secure employment.
Recently the manufacturer, which also makes a number of Apple products, most notably the iPhone 5C, came under proverbial fire when it was reported that a 15 year old worker died one month after working at one of the company’s factories in Shanghai. While non-profit labor rights groups claimed that the death might have been caused by the poor working conditions at the factory, Pegatron held its ground and said that its working conditions had nothing to do with the boy’s death. An independent team of experts sent by Apple to the very same site also made the exact same conclusion.
The company reveals that applicants who apply for a job at the assembly lines are first required to produce their government issued ID cards which are scanned and checked for authenticity. Then advanced facial recognition technology is used to match the applicant’s face with the one on the card, so as to be sure that potential underage workers aren’t able to secure a position at the assembly lines. Pegatron then checks local and national police databases before finally awarding employment. It says that these steps have been put in place to adhere to China’s laws, which prohibit the employment of anyone below the age of 16.
Though these steps didn’t stop 15 year old Shi Zhaokun and he was able to work at the company’s factory in Shanghai for over a month. He death was caused by pneumonia, but it isn’t believed to have been caused by working conditions at the factory. Underage employment has been a major problem in China for quite some time now. One of Apple’s biggest manufacturers, Foxconn, has received much criticism for hiring underage interns for its assembly lines. Its partners in the country are often also accused for making workers exceed the legal overtime hours.