Overseas Working Conditions and The Foxconn Controversies

    • Apple is no different than many other Big Tech companies when it comes to human labor controversies, of which there are many. Much of Apple's products are manufactured in China. Over the years, a few different controversies have surfaced at these China-based factories.
    • In 2013 China Labor Watch investigated three Pegatron factories that manufacture Apple products and found 86 labor rights violations. These violations included working almost 10,000 minors like adults and often times paying them less or paying them late. Moreover, violations were cited for factory floor conditions and dormitory conditions.
    • Apple's relationship with Foxconn is decades old. This China-based company also manufactures Apple products. As early as 2006, it's labor rights practices were already being called into question as it's 200,000 employees lived in corporate dormitories where visitors were never permitted, they were required to work 15-hour days, and were paid as little as $50 per month.
    • Apple supposedly "investigated" the issues with Foxconn in 2006. However, nothing would come of these investigations and more incidents would be popping up with little action from Apple:
  • Planned Obsolescence - The Slow iPhone Controversy

    • Toward the end of 2017, Apple admitted to the world that it was intentionally slowing down the performance of older iPhone models. Soon thereafter, several class action lawsuits were filed - many believing this was strategically done to force consumers to buy newer versions of the iPhone (a form of planned obsolescence).
    • Resistance to this strategy continues into 2018. Back Market is a marketplace where refurbished phones are sold to combat the need for new iPhones that are often turned out excessively and for no good reason other than to turn a profit.
    • Early this year, in 2018, the US Department of Justice and the S.E.C. started investigating Apple for potentially violating securities law with the software updates that slowed Apple's devices.
    • As of April 2018, Apple is still dealing with 61 pending lawsuits. This is in addition to several investigations being conducted by other countries:
    • In addition to the accusations of planned obsolescence for iPhone slow-downs, Apple has been accused of intentionally modifying the design of the iPhone 7 (removing the headphone jack) to prompt consumers to buy more products (i.e., Apple's wireless earbuds).
  • Data Breaches

    • "Massive iPhone User Data Breach: What You Need to Know" [Inc., 8/31/15].
    • "Apple iCloud data now stored on Chinese government servers, Data breach at LabCorp, SIM hijacking, Aircraft cybersecurity, half of US retailers suffer data breach in 2018" [CTOvision.com, 7/18/2018].
    • Apple, like Facebook, has had its fair share of data breaches causing many to question the safety of their personal data.
    • "The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America's technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources" [Bloomberg, 10/4/2018].
    • "Marco Rubio pressures Apple over privacy breach, says company ignored reports of app sending user data to China" [9TO5Mac, 9/19/2018].