Apple Once Caught Factory Workers 'Digging a Small Tunnel in a Corner' in Attempt to Smuggle iPhone Parts

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    The Information's Wayne Ma has published an interesting story about the measures Apple takes to prevent leaks of unreleased products like iPhones from emerging out of factories within its Asian supply chain.

    [​IMG]

    After photos of the colorful iPhone 5c leaked in 2013, the report claims Apple created a "New Product Security" team to monitor security at its most sensitive suppliers in China. At one point, the team reportedly topped more than 30 people, but Apple is said to have been moving some of the work to contractors as of late.

    Apple recruited former U.S. military and intelligence operatives fluent in Chinese to be security managers on the team, and hired third-party auditors tasked with visiting factories on a weekly basis, the report adds.

    The security team is said to have uncovered workers going to extreme lengths to smuggle valuable components out of factories over the years, with some attempting to hide parts in crawl spaces, tissue boxes, shoes, belt buckles, bras, used mop water, under discarded metal shavings, and beyond.

    Apple once even caught factory workers "digging a small tunnel in a corner of a room behind a large piece of machinery," hoping to use it to funnel stolen components to the outside, according to the report. "People were chipping away little by little at the wall 'Shawshank Redemption' style," one person said.

    Over the years, Apple has tightened its security protocols even further to prevent leaks.

    Examples from the report: trash bags must be clear and screened for metal before they are removed from the premises, storage containers must be sealed with tamper-evident stickers, parts must have unique serial numbers that can be traced back to specific factory lines, and inventory must be counted daily.

    Suppliers who suffer leaks may face multi-million-dollar fines, according to the report, although Apple's primary manufacturer Foxconn is said to be excluded from this policy due to the size of its relationship with Apple.

    The full article at The Information is a fascinating read, with several more details about Apple's efforts to curb leaks. A subscription is required.

    Article Link: Apple Once Caught Factory Workers 'Digging a Small Tunnel in a Corner' in Attempt to Smuggle iPhone Parts
     
  2. DrJohnnyN Suspended

    DrJohnnyN

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    Interesting read! Increase their pay and this wouldn't happen.
     
  3. alireza76 macrumors newbie

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    Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers
     
  4. meaning-matters macrumors 6502

    meaning-matters

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    We don't need no education
    We don't need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers leave them kids alone
    Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone
    All in all it's just another brick in the wall
    All in all you're just another brick in the wall
     
  5. alexandr macrumors 6502a

    alexandr

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    did those workers continue digging tunnels in a different place?
     
  6. Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

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    I doubt it.

    I'm sure that industrial espionage pays much more than increased wages :(.
     
  7. Mutepointer, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019

    Mutepointer macrumors member

    Mutepointer

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    The security team must be overseen by another security team, then another security team to oversee the other security team and so on.
     
  8. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a

    GekkePrutser

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    #8
    In other words they refused to take this **** and stood up to Apple. Good.

    When I hear the stories about Apple's Gestapo I think they've gone too far. And all just because of some stupid leaks. And if you don't like leaks - what are you doing here???
     
  9. DrJohnnyN Suspended

    DrJohnnyN

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    You're probably right.
     
  10. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

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    Now with Mac and iPhone design lasting 4 years there’s not much to be uncovered
     
  11. rebateProcessing macrumors newbie

    rebateProcessing

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  12. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    These sound like the methods diamond mine workers would use to try to sneak out diamonds. I guess iPhone parts can be just as valuable.
     
  13. Will.O.Bie macrumors 6502

    Will.O.Bie

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    If only Fort Knox had this type of security smh :rolleyes:
     
  14. Braderunner macrumors 6502a

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    I doubt that they were trying to commit corporate espionage. They probably wanted to post pics of the parts online.
    Even if done anonymously, just to know "I did that"!
     
  15. now i see it macrumors 68040

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    #15
    sounds like prisoners in a prison. I wonder why that is?
     
  16. alpi123 macrumors 6502a

    alpi123

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    If they were for a new (unreleased) iPhone, this is like a gold mine for the workers. They can sell a genuine part for so much money, even to the media.
     
  17. Crowbot macrumors 6502

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    Those "stupid leaks" could cost Apple millions. There's not much point in having a security plan that tolerates any leakage. Granted, Apple is heavy handed but they have the resources to do it.
     
  18. GeoStructural macrumors regular

    GeoStructural

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    #18
    I don’t think so. These popular Apple-related sites pay a lot for leaks like this.

    I believe with the years the anticipation for Apple products will reduce so much to the point where it won’t even be an issue. We are getting there.
     
  19. harrisondavies macrumors 6502

    harrisondavies

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    #19
    I got a shock there. The team reportedly topped (in my country this means killed) more than 30 people.
     
  20. Baymowe335 macrumors 601

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    Wrong. Pay doesn’t stop corruption.
     
  21. Crowbot macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I don't think they'd go to these lengths as well as risking their job just to day "I did that". Classic industrial espionage.
     
  22. Zdigital2015 macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Give me a break...this would happen regardless of pay. The contract manufacturer sets the wages for workers as it is their company. I am sure that Apple has certain guidelines for treatment of workers and suggested pay, but ultimately, it is up to the manufacturer to set wages and the worker to decide if he wants to accept the job.
     
  23. Solomani macrumors 68040

    Solomani

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    #23
    Very likely.
     
  24. Braderunner macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Then why post pics online? It's no longer a secret that is worth anything to a competitor after that.
     
  25. Khedron macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Anything to avoid 3rd party repairers having access to parts.
     

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76 July 17, 2019