Amazon's Alexa devices are very popular, but over the last few months, the internet giant has been facing a lot of flak because of them.
First, it was revealed that human reviewers listen to private Alexa conversations, and now, a new report from The Guardian has found that the company's supplier made kids work overtime for building these devices.
Here's all about the practice.
Hardware supplier made kids work nights, overtime
Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo speakers and Kindle e-book readers are built and supplied by Chinese hardware manufacturer Foxconn.
Now, according to leaked documents and worker interviews, Foxconn had hired school-going children, aged between 16 and 18, to meet the production targets of these devices.
They were accompanied by their teachers who forced them to work nights and overtime, beyond regular day shifts.
Plus, they were given lower wages
The report noted that the teachers forced the 'student interns' to work extra shifts by claiming they would fire them for non-compliance.
Plus, apparently, the kids were not even paid well; their wages for shifts were lower and benefits were poorer than regular aged workers.
Now, hiring kids over 16 isn't illegal in China, but this is a clear violation of Chinese labor laws.
Foxconn acknowledged the practice, blamed on local management
When The Guardian report surfaced, Foxconn acknowledged and blamed the violation on the local team deployed at the factory.
"There have been instances in the past where lax oversight on the part of the local management team has allowed this to happen," the company said, adding that "this is not acceptable and we have taken immediate steps to ensure it will not be repeated."
What steps Foxconn has taken?
As part of the corrective action, Foxconn said it has "doubled the oversight and monitoring of the internship program with each relevant partner school to ensure that, under no circumstances, will interns [be] allowed to work overtime or nights."
Amazon, too, has launched an investigation
Just as the hardware supplier takes corrective measures, Amazon too has stepped into the matter.
"We are urgently investigating these allegations and addressing this with Foxconn at the most senior level," a company spokesperson said when questioned about the incident.
The representative added that "additional teams of specialists arrived on-site yesterday to investigate, and we've initiated weekly audits of this issue."