Reputation mill: Apple has long been known for its secrecy regarding unreleased products. Despite the efforts, leaks still come regularly, especially from the supply chain. Apple reportedly wants to change that by updating the security guidelines for its production partners. Ironically, the news comes from an internal document leaked to The Information.
According to the updated guidelines, manufacturing facilities must carry out criminal background checks on ongoing workers who have access to unreleased Apple products. Previous background checks only applied to certain employees. Those with a criminal history are not allowed to enter any area of the facility where unreleased units are being developed or assembled.
Apple is also upgrading computer systems to track how long components stay on workstations. If the part is in one place for too long, the computer will give security alerts. In addition, guards posted at various checkpoints will be required to keep detailed overviews of the location and movement of employees moving “sensitive”
The new rules also extend beyond the factory floor. For example, visitors to the facility must present a government-issued ID for verification. External surveillance camera coverage must now be able to capture all four sides of the transport vehicles. Management must also keep any video showing the destruction of prototypes or defective components for at least 180 days.
One of the strangest and perhaps more controversial rules is that plants can no longer collect biometric information from Apple employees visiting the facility. However, the company still requires fingerprints and facial scans from construction personnel. Not only does this create a double standard in the work environment, but it also does not make much sense from a safety point of view.
If anything, factory workers who are in the plant daily and are recognized by management and colleagues are far less of a threat than some random Apple employees coming in for the first time. ID tags can be forged, and biometric screening is a good last line of defense against physical penetration.
As with all leaks, treat this as a rumor. Apple has not confirmed the policy changes, and considering the species, it will probably never do so, although it is true.
Photo credit: Carrier by Novikov Aleksey, ID check by Helloabc