Apple reportedly bans facial scans of employees, but not factory workers


James Martin/CNET

Apple recently banned its manufacturing partners from collecting facial recognition scans and the fingerprint data of Apple employees who visit manufacturing facilities, according to a Wednesday report by The Information. Citing an internal Apple document it reviewed, the outlet also reports that the new privacy rule does not apply to the more than 1 million factory workers who make Apple’s products. 

The internal document is reportedly part of Apple’s new security protocols aimed at reducing intellectual property theft, and also includes a mandated increase in surveillance camera use at manufacturing facilities, along with upgrades to component tracking systems that monitor Apple hardware during production. The document also requires manufacturers to conduct criminal background checks on factory workers. 

The move by Apple comes as other companies, such as Amazon, are ramping up their use of facial recognition technology on workers. According to multiple reports, Amazon’s delivery drivers are required to consent to biometric monitoring in order to keep their jobs. The monitoring comes from cameras installed in delivery vehicles, which will take workers photos and track their driving for unsafe behaviors.

Apple did not immediately return CNET’s request for comment. 

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