It has emerged that Chinese contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn, famous for suicidal employees, authoritarian control over its workers, and contracts for Apple, last year handed three employees over to police for leaking the design of the iPad 2.
The news, only now emerging from China, comes a month after Chinese police formally laid charges against the former Foxconn employees.
They are alleged to have leaked the iPad 2’s design to third-party accessory builders, allowing them to prep knick-knacks like iPad cases before the Apple product hit the streets.
The design leak allowed the third party manufacturers to build iPad 2 cases that were the right thickness and accommodate the location of the camera on the rear of the device.
Foxconn has had a torrid couple of years in the media. The Apple gadget factory was criticized over working conditions when news started emerging of staff suicides. Its responses included hanging nets around staff accommodation, moving staff to factories with less press exposure than its now-notorious Shenzen facility, and trumpeted new staff deals.
In 2009, a Foxconn engineer committed suicide after he lost an iPhone 4 prototype. ®