Video Appears to Offer Peek Inside HP Factory

You may have wondered from time to time who made the device you are using to read this blog post. Now a video being circulated on the Internet apparently offers an unobstructed view.

Nothing much happens in this video. AnteboyanROX, who posted it, explains that he or she found the video on a Hewlett Packard laptop and surmised that someone made it to test the machine in the factory.

Redux and other blogs say that the video was made in Quanta Chongqing Manufacturing City in Chongqing, China. Hewlett Packard’s headquarters are in Palo Alto.

So why is this of interest?

Human rights groups have raised questions about labor practices at factories in China that manufacture products for American computer companies, including Quanta Computer, reportedly the largest laptop maker in the world.

In February, Apple Computer reported that it was auditing Quanta factories where its products are made, according to Bloomberg..

And in July, China Labor Watch reported violations at another Quanta factory, in Shanghai. Among the allegations: Workers at HP factories must stand for 10 hours at a time. Quanta hires underage workers. Works get only one or two days of rest per month.

This video doesn’t prove or disprove those allegations. But it does give the kind of fly-on-the-wall view that highly produced documentaries do not.

It’s hard to evaluate the HP video. In the last couple of minutes, the images it shows are apparently manipulated to appear as if they were coming first out of a handheld device and next as if they were on a theater screen in front of an audience.

I called HP to see if the video is real. Spokesman Michael Thacker confirmed that Quanta manufacturers some of its hardware. And he said he had watched the video. “I don’t know where the video came from,” he said. “I did not see anything that led me to believe one way or the other in its authenticity,” he said.

I’ve also emailed Quanta, but have not yet heard back.

So for now you’ll just have to watch and decide for yourself whether you’ve had a realistic glimpse behind the screens we spend so much time watching.

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