A Reuters reporter is manhandled for taking photos of the outside of a Foxconn factory.
Apple is notoriously secretive about upcoming products, refusing to comment on anything until there's been a product launch. We've all heard the crazy stories about people at Apple working on projects under dark cloths, so that passing coworkers can't see what they're doing.
The fact that Apple is so tight-lipped about new products probably contributes to how strict contractors are about helping to keep Cupertino's secrets. Security at the factories is tight and companies are often given several different versions of the same product. This makes it easier to tell who's been leaking information should that situation arise.
One Reuters reporter decided to go and check out the security at one of Foxconn's facilities outside of Hong Kong. What happened to him is truly frightening. The report cites an employee who says, "Security is tight everywhere inside the factories. They use metal detectors and search us. If you have any metal objects on you when you leave, they just call the police."
Arriving outside the facility, the Reuters correspondent called the police himself. The reporter was apparently standing on a public road outside the factory, snapping pictures of the front gate and security check point, when a guard shouted at him. The journalist jumped into his waiting taxi but the guard stood in front of the vehicle and threatened to strip the cab driver of his license if he did not stop.
The Reuters correspondent exited the car and pointed out that as he was on a public road, he was well within his rights to be taking photographs. The guards tried to drag him into the factory but when the writer's requests to be released were not met, he pulled out of their grasp and began to walk away. One of the guards then kicked him in the leg and another threatened to hit him again if he moved.
Foxconn brought around a security car but the reporter refused to get in. Instead, he called the police who arrived soon after and diffused the situation. The guards apologized and the police gave the journalist the option to press charges, but not before advising him, "You're free to do what you want, but this is Foxconn and they have a special status here. Please understand."
Reuters goes on to say that it is unlikely Apple tells its contractors security guards how to behave or how to respond to reporters taking pictures of the outside of the factory. However, it does highlight how seriously these companies take Apple's confidentiality agreements.
Read the full expose here.