Apple has made several changes to its factory safety guidelines to prevent leaks, according to a new report from The information. According to the updated guidelines, the company’s production partners can no longer collect biometric data such as fingerprints or face scans from Apple employees, but the same does not apply to factory workers.
The information says it received an internal Apple document outlining the changes. One change is that production partners that Apple works with, such as Foxconn and Pegatron, are no longer allowed to collect biometric data from Apple employees, but they are still free to collect such data from their own employees, even if the employees stock Apple Products.
The guidelines also make other changes to combat product leaks coming from the supply chain. For the first time, Apple is now requiring manufacturers to conduct criminal background checks on all workers. The company also orders to increase the use of surveillance cameras at these facilities.
Another change includes Apple increasing its focus on “moving sensitive parts in factories.”
Apple is also said to be making upgrades to the system to track parts and components within these factories:
Apple is in the process of upgrading its own computer system, which is installed at some factories, to determine how long parts will be left at one production station before moving to another. The system uses proprietary Apple software on the Mac mini to collect and analyze production data, according to the person familiar with Wistron’s operations in India. This type of monitoring can help Apple determine if manufacturers are cutting corners, which Apple sometimes accuses even its largest partners of doing, according to people familiar with the systems. The system can also prevent the theft of components, those people say.
Apple’s new safety guidelines for production partners also include requirements that security guards at checkpoints “keep detailed logs of the movement of workers carrying sensitive parts from one area to another,” the report explains. Factory visitors also now have to show government ID, which was not previously necessary.
Finally, security cameras must now capture all four sides of the transport vehicles, and videos that “show the destruction of prototypes and defective parts” must now be kept for at least 180 days.
The information notes that these changes are seen as setting a double standard among factory workers and partners, who believe that Apple is essentially affecting the security of the supply chain in countries where privacy laws are more lenient. The employees also say that the changes – especially to biometric data collection – come when Apple doubles its privacy focus, but the same standards are not applied to supply chain workers.
The entire report at The information is well worth reading.
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