“Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook visited the White House on Tuesday to talk about the NSA. The spy agency has had a run of bad publicity, especially regarding its global surveillance network,” Cam Simpson and Adam Satariano report for Businessweek. “If the public freaks out too much about spy tech, that could erode faith in technology in general, which could make people think twice about buying such things as iPads and iPhones, which would be bad for Apple’s (AAPL) bottom line. But another initiative by President Barack Obama could cost Cook sooner and in a more direct way, courtesy of the company’s much-vaunted supply chain.”
“Friday is the deadline for corporate suppliers of the world’s biggest consumer — the U.S. government — to have a say in new regulations aimed at ending indentured servitude overseas,” Simpson and Satariano report. “The rules stem from an executive order Obama signed last year, called ‘Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking In Persons In Federal Contracts.'”
“As Bloomberg Businessweek reported in November, foreign workers recruited from some of Asia’s poorest corners often go deep into debt to pay brokers for a crack at jobs on consumer-electronics assembly lines,” Simpson and Satariano report. “These factories are in Malaysia and other countries that rely almost exclusively on migrant labor for production. For years Apple has ordered its suppliers to keep such fees below one-months’ net pay at a factory, but its audits last year turned up $6.4 million in overcharges”
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