September 13, 2011
iPhone App About Apple’s Rotten Supply Chain Gets Past Censors
To the great surprise of its creators, a funny new iPhone game critical of Apple’s human rights record was accepted by the iTunes store and is being released today. The app, called Phone Story, teaches players about abuses in the life-cycle of the iPhone by putting them in the manufacturers’ shoes. To win, players must enslave children in Congolese mines, catch suicidal workers jumping out of Chinese assembly plant windows, and conscript the poorest of the world’s poor to dismantle toxic e-waste resulting from obsolete phones.
The seriously funny new game will sell for 99 cents on iTunes; all proceeds will go to organizations fighting to stop the horrors that smartphone production causes. Read more about Phone Story below. But first, a word from Phone Story’s sponsors.
Yes Lab Fundraising Campaign a Shocking Success
Last week the Yes Lab sent you an appeal for support. We set aside forty days and forty nights to reach our goal on Kickstarter—but with your help we’ve gotten there in just five! (Note: if you haven’t yet donated, don’t let our success dissuade you! We’ll use the extra money to fund more projects, and to develop tools and resources to help folks carry them out. And by the way, if you’re a Drupal programmer and feel like helping to make those tools, please write to us!)
Since our fundraising appeal is doing so well, we’re launching our very own curated page on Kickstarter, to support other cool projects—like Beautiful Trouble, an activism manual and website written by over forty troublemakers from around the world, including the Yes Men. Beautiful Trouble’s goal is to put the best tactics for creative action in the hands of the next generation of change-makers. Support Beautiful Trouble!
So back to those phones….
Would you like to force an African child to mine for precious metals at gunpoint? “Phone Story,” a new iPhone app produced by Molleindustria, puts the player in the unsavory shoes of a smartphone executive. Each level in the game explores a different real-life problem in the consumer electronics life cycle: slavery and abuse in Coltan mines, suicide-inducing manufacturing plants, and health-destroying e-waste processing are reduced to a cute, low-res aesthetic driven by simple, addictive game play. The game is available in the iTunes store for 99 cents.
“We wanted to get this story into the hands of consumers, on the shiny devices we love to use but are causing this depraved, destructive cycle,” said game developers Paolo Pedercini and Michael Pineschi.
The site provides links to organizations with campaigns to hold phone makers accountable for their horrors, and 100% of proceeds go directly to such organizations.
Apple has a well-documented and controversial history of keeping apps that they don’t agree with out of the hands of consumers, so it came as a big surprise to the creators when the iPhone store accepted this one. “If this simply slipped under their radar, we can’t wait to see how they respond,” said Pedercini. “If it’s creative enough, we might have to build a whole other level.”