Ep. 51: The human cost of gadgets Video
Ep. 51: The human cost of gadgets Video Transcript
-- -- -- Hi everyone I'm -- -- and welcome to reporters roundtable are deep dive into the single tech -- a week. Did you ever wonder where the raw materials for your phone or your camera laptop came from -- who assembled your device -- what conditions. Popular stories this year about the working conditions that Smartphone manufacturer fox -- finally brought to light one piece of the puzzle. It's no picnic to be on the iPhone assembly line workers there reportedly -- not just low wages but physically and psychologically unsafe conditions. And before your gadget even assembled its raw materials have to be pulled out of the earth. Some of these materials most notably canned plum which is used in -- -- -- mind in the war torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Income from these mines directly funds warring groups and ongoing fighting over resources leaves civilians in the PRC terrorized and -- It's a very heavy topic we -- discussing today and while there are no simple or easy solutions to making sure that every electronic device is made in an ethical in humane and responsible way. There are steps that consumers can take to make electronics industries more humane and more ethical. And that's what we're going to be talking about today with two very knowledgeable guests about these topics. Our guests are first. -- hall. From the enough project and -- hope for Congo which are initiatives of the Center for American Progress. The enough project's goal is to end genocide and crimes against humanity working with citizens. Advocates and policy makers. -- is a policy analyst at the enough project and thank you very much for joining there. They said and and from the worldwide journalism project in the global post complete at least also welcome reporter Kathleen McLaughlin. Who's been working on the -- investigative series the silicon sweat -- Started in 2009 series has looked at human rights electronics manufacturing in the Philippines. Taiwan and China it also looks at a new factory program that may be the blueprint for solving the issues Kathleen. Thank you for joining -- -- -- happy to be here all right so let's get started on this first I wanna start with. The beginning of the supply chain the materials -- can you give us a brief primer on of the conflict materials coming out of Congo and possible alternative sources for. Sure well. The conflict in Congo. Has been going on her over fifteen years and it's organizer largely a result of the genocide in. -- one day in 1990 or as a result. Millions of Hutu refugees and the leadership of the of the country at the time as well as the military leaders came across the border into Congo and treated a huge amount of instability. Other -- which was a number of rebel groups that it popped up and so. Conflict that started Bloomberg. You know ethnic. Divisions and land tenure and things like that has -- -- to conflicts where. It's basically about control of Congdon eastern Congo's vast mineral resources. And the control of of these mines which these groups use to basically fund their operations -- state. Stay afloat the minerals that we're talking about here when. We do not project we talk about the three -- that edit conflict minerals which -- tend to implement tungsten hmm as well as gold. Ten as most people -- -- I understand I'm addressing a tech audience and I'm not a tech guy so alternatives as best I can ten. Is used or the solder in the circuit boards and all our electronic products. Tinsel misused or canceled and passengers and name wired it's necessary and potential wired it's necessary -- with those capacitor is. Tungsten is what makes our cell phone's vibrate and it's also used -- of elements and light bulbs. And gold is used and some of the wires and some of the other various parts. In terms of alternatives for these these minerals. It varies from minerals and mineral. On ten. And tungsten -- large deposits in the end Asia and in South America -- them as a bit more tricky because chancellor and and if there's a large supply of insulin in the Congo. And the alternatives globally are few there's sun tinsel mines in Brazil there's some Mozambique. Australia and Canada both have large. Reserves just -- however -- minds that they have there aren't online and producing. Because the price the global price of -- right now doesn't it isn't. -- enough for -- to to make a profit. How how is it just. Put everything together here that materials manufacturers the material supply chain is it's complicit. In keeping these conflicts and these abuses -- come out of these wars going. Well big these minerals -- councilman tungsten entreaties angle. Are -- the primary funders of these armed groups and the eastern Congo. And these minerals that are being illegally mined and illicitly smuggled out of the country. Are primarily going to you. Smokers and other sources that then are. Are part of the the supply chain that ultimately goes downstream to you. Manufacturers. You know the major electronics companies and the electronics products that we use every -- Okay so that's a brief overview of the situation when it comes to materials. Now and the other side or further up the supply chain there's the assembly these devices where we've been covering that in the tech press quite a lot the so called box on -- Kathleen global -- you've been covering this in more detail can you explain to us but the situation is with assembly. Sure I think the main thing okay and anything known how it does now into in the supply chain is mass fragmentation. So there -- -- from Apple factory in China and they're implemented Dell factory there's not a Sony factory. There are huge factories that are on by companies like fox can't bring tackle -- Taiwanese. Could make the components for things like iphones and I -- and then there assembled. In different places as well so you can go into one factory in the be making the screen for iphones go into another factory and they'll be making the covers for your mobile phone. It -- fragmentation and what that tends to mean is there is that the buck doesn't really stop anywhere. You can't save that as certain American company is responsible for what happens in this Chinese factory because the supply chain so fragmented. So you have. Rampant. Labor a lot of these things -- company can be found. Workers are doing too much over time they're not getting paid enough they're not getting the benefits that they're required to get under law. And and the big thing to keep in mind here is that these. Hundreds of thousands of workers most of them are 17181920. Years old and it's their first I'm going. How can then. This -- if they're they're not in -- -- empowered position to stand up for their credit and they tend to see these rampant abuses. And and I -- that there isn't. Any company that seems to be worse than any other but what's happening -- that the fragmentation allows the big tech firms to. Not take responsibility for what's happening on the factory site. Now that's and that's a thread throughout both issues both them and we're -- -- coming from and how the products are assembled is this. What people are calling for are what they want is some accountability and for the the firms that Apple Dell HP you name it. To take some responsibility for -- their entire supply chain. Have how people been calling for this and and is it. Are -- making any progress here at all. I listen to me. Either you are on this one because this is this that this is this is what shows about here. To be honest I haven't seen much progress and we just had a new report come out this weekend. On regarding fox content if an actor -- the seventeen they've now documented seventeen suicide attempts -- -- on factories around China this year. And there's a new report from. A group of Chinese academics that was released this weekend -- documenting even more labor abuses. Fox -- I should say has rejected all the claims in this report. But it doesn't appear that anything has changed -- these claims were true. Through so far. Because they are responsible directly from the factories companies like Apple or Sony or -- -- out. Don't tend to comment on -- reports I sent out a request for comment on the company's that we. Named in our story about this most recent report no one replied so I have -- -- The tech firms. Become more responsive. On these issues and -- -- -- that they well I I I think it's gonna take pressure from consumers mean that's the bottom line that's what happened with. Clothing factories and what's what's apps are making -- -- and that's why Nike. Clean up what they were doing. Mean plants and when I think that consumer pressure and that's. -- and that's largely what happened done on our side and there has been some progress on the conflict minerals issue and it was largely driven by. The consumer demand this past summer that kind of culminated in the passing of the conflict mineral legislation within the frank -- act the Wall Street reform act here in Washington -- -- we'll talk about -- a bit but. In in the wake of that you know the electronics companies. Came together and realize that there was a problem. And there there are. Kind of trade industry groups like the electronics industry citizenship coalition or EI CC that has become kind of the clearinghouse for all these are all these big companies Apple HP Intel groups like that and they've been they've been moving to. And and and -- factor in the process of -- testing pilot projects. -- and the reason in the region and smelter validation program's name and moving towards trying to map their supply chains. Trying to create frameworks to Trace audit and certified -- materials. From -- to to the end product you know and I should say that. You know upfront that I don't think than any any companies really want to be implicit in this kind of thing and so there you know they want to do. The right thing -- like you said it's it's a difficult process to match some of -- supply chains and they're very fragments of but the the good news is that. Some of these companies are making headway in doing it. And are you know and in doing so we're showing a willingness to to work with organizations like ours to work with regional governments and in Central Africa to work within the international community and establish some agreed upon set of standards in which we can at some point say you know this is acceptable. -- -- will get to those -- -- in just a second that now since Apple seems to be at in the limelight on this issue due to it's very very shiny brand image. In June of this year Apple and wasn't -- senator both of these controversies and a little bit. Steve Jobs said regarding conflict materials on June 30 he said we require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict few. Materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure until someone invents a way to chemically Trace minerals from the source -- it's a very difficult problem. And then I want talk about that some detail but there's another job quick here on labor issues where he says that he said that the eight conference talking to our switcher. On June 1. He said we are all over this is about foxhound fox -- is not sweatshop it's a factory but my gosh they have restaurants and movie theaters but at the factory. But they've had some suicides and attempted suicides and they have 400000 people there the rate is under what the US -- is but it's still troubling. So Apple although they tend not to say much and most electronics companies don't on these issues because they feel they're at some remove apparently. They are addressing these issues first. When it comes to the conference materials -- he says. There is no way for -- -- to be sure on tracing his materials. Until someone invents a way to chemically traces can you talk. Give us a comment on that statement. Sure well I mean you know I think a lot of companies were saying that at the beginning in the relied that that wasn't going to be an acceptable answer based on the consumer pressure. That was applied that that was certainly the beginning -- you know. -- the momentum that has allowed us to get to the point where whereas now where we have elect except these pilot projects going on we've had the bill passed and we have. Kind of regional regional governments involved in the process so. You know since June. When that statement was made we made some some some significant process that was really the the driver at having the industry groups come together sunset and speaking individually -- trying to say well. You know we don't use conflict minerals are we can't be held accountable because we can't you know know where these things are coming from. The images has been put on them too in fact you know -- there and map their supply chains and figure out a way to do it. And and and they've begun to you through these through these triggers like the ACC. And then based on the based on you know the the kind of transition from the bill. To the trade industry working groups governments in the region took note. And you know they don't want to be in a situation where people stopped buying from the region because the companies can get these -- minerals and so. Eleven regional governments through an organization called ICG -- which is international conflict conference. Of the Great Lakes region have come together and just recently in Nairobi I was actually out there couple weeks ago. Introduced. A regional certification scheme where. Both. Governments. Private sector and organizations like ours. And interest and -- and advocacy groups. Work together to create a system where. Minerals that are being extracting can be certified reminds you export them and that will help that will help industry -- -- on the on the US side. A because if if minerals are coming out of the region has certified and when they go to the -- there's -- processors they can be. They they can have that the standards there's the certificate or whatever -- and can more easily. Be contractually. Written in contractually through some of these supply chains that you have to have be certified -- so. On it's been. You know we've been optimistic since June there have been some successes but -- -- you know again we still have a long way to go our whole world will get -- that the fox. On labor issues -- just a second venom and Apple's statement on that so I wanna talk more about this. The -- in the changes in the in in how the US government is dealing with this can you give us a little bit more and that what what's this law or -- that's been passed and he really briefly -- to to -- to -- will have the impact. -- on the accountability that you're hoping for. Sure world -- conflict minerals provision I was provision fifteen -- two it was put into the Wall Street reform act that it the past this past July here in Washington and what it does is. It mandates that companies that are. Publicly listed with the SEC. Have to -- if they use any of the three -- gold they have to show. That they did not source those. Any of those materials from the region from Congo or any of its adjoining countries which are nine countries -- if they did and they have to do a little bit more due diligence to show whether or not. Those minerals that are -- for their products contribute directly or indirectly to the rebel groups are armed groups committing illegal acts in the Congo. You know that that that the bill was passed and we're in the process now with the SEC and developing new regulations and exactly what. Due diligence looks like and exactly what that the company's. Are gonna be responsible for reporting -- and and what the auditing system is gonna look like. And there is kind of multi stakeholder groups working on that and giving input to the SEC in the SEC will ultimately. -- Create its regulations but you know in that regard it's kind we're kind of you know flying the airplane while we're building -- here because it's happening quickly and it needs to happen quickly because there are people there that are are suffering tremendously so that's the faster that they're becomes. A legitimate trade out of Congo you know the -- people there can get can get some relief -- reduction in violence. But but. In that regard did the actual regulations have yet to be finalized. The SEC acting. At the beginning of next year -- Well we'll have what will come out with some some guidelines for regulations and in the be a commentator -- setter in the know that there was so clear picture of what the -- we'll have to do okay. Now Kathleen. Sorry Kathleen when it comes to the other side of the equation the new manufacturing are they're similar. Things moving through the US government. That will. Put some guidelines or some piece. Into what consumers want when it comes to. Manufacturing conditions how the Apple responding to me. Not that I'm aware and am thus far Apple hasn't responded directly mention the comment from Steve Jobs earlier though about fox -- just one and to think. He's right. Fox content is not just to -- it's infinity. Mean it -- can't have it should say it doesn't factories in China and their biggest one thing in Shenzhen -- -- -- says stated suicides was. Back -- factory complex is so big it has its own highway exit. I -- it it really is like a small city. It don't think and I think that he expects -- I think it's fair to compare the third and ten and -- -- anyone else have the commitment unofficial city. I mean it's as -- -- 400000. People who are. Probably the average age 1920. And living conditions -- they -- working ten to twelve hours of pay me for not a lot of money now. Fox kind interestingly enough when I had visited that area and many times and the migrant workers who come in from the -- provinces actually fox -- -- one of the most popular places to work credited the social aspect of it it's such a big. Police that they need a lot of friends a lot of people end up finding there. Future romantic partners and so its its public place to work out. But Apple may be doing things behind fifteenth I don't care from Apple -- -- -- -- -- I would love to. I also wanted to just say that there there are some good example happening in China and it is coming from pressure American company. H he has started a pilot project -- another Taiwanese owned factory. In the dongle on one of -- in southern manufacturing areas. And it -- what you're doing is very simple management has agreed to listen to markers and so. They post complaints on the notice -- every Friday. It there it goes back from what discussion and it turns out that the workers there actually. Happier and more productive and the managers that -- told me that they have more business and they can handle because companies want to work with. Responsible supplier factories. We don't want to have its ongoing. Negative publicity. Anyway I do think the pressure is is only going to come from the consumer side of things. Now electronics. Electronics is hardly the only -- we were talking a little bit earlier. That's been plagued by a few issues of conflict ethics pollution and human rights. How have other industries. Maybe apparel we talked about or food or energy. Handled these problems well in the past and what for the electronics industries will learn from those in either you wanna take -- one. Sure well. You know there are certainly -- some presidents spared it from our perspective of trying to. You know entrees and auditing and and -- supply -- from other other sectors we looked at. Systems that exist in the timber industry in the fisheries industry. Needs and agriculture. Of course the Kimberley process and diamonds is the big one that we. Look at and and take a lot of are trying to take a lot of best practices from. And build and and build on that but of course every you know process has has its flaws and so. There's not one model really that we hold up as exemplary it's it's you know you kind of see what worked in some situations and what doesn't and and -- and and try and build from Mac. But but certainly there there are other. Industries and it -- it to undergo similar reformation -- that we've looked. Now I'm I'm I think -- hit oops I know everything I think it it talking about the apparel and then footwear industry in particular. That pressure came from -- and gaming consumers found out about sweatshop conditions they didn't wanna -- particular brand anymore in the -- were forced to change the way they operated so. Now that's one of the big questions I have here is. In that he -- about. You know sneakers being you know put together and terrible conditions and the consumers found out about this there's a big -- -- and then. This went back up the chain to manufacture and manufacture changes way to deal with there. -- suppliers and their -- Why does it take that to happen now I I just. Don't the companies understand the benefit of doing the right thing. Before there's a hue and cry for them to do so in other words is it consumers that are driving. Ethics into that companies are are the company are the companies just. A moral or morally bankrupt that they have to wait for consumers to drive. Well I think it I think it's certainly you know the consumers driving the -- I -- for a lot of companies I think that it's probably less expensive to operate. With some of these conditions and maybe they don't have the full picture of what's going on and maybe they don't want the full picture of what's going on but when it's brought to their attention. They're they're forced to change and I think that nothing probably sparks. Or revolution faster in the United States -- people using their consumer dollars to do so and you know this is like I said before about the Kimberley process this is something that we've seen in other. Developing African nations where you know when the blood diamond issue came up it was you don't very cheap for a lot of companies to get. Diamonds from Liberia and Sierra Leone and which were undergoing. -- -- horse or people or where we're. Facing just horrific violence. And and stopping the illegal trade of -- diamonds and the kind of tripartite government private sector and you know Ngo community coming together to develop a framework. Was absolutely critical ones -- in a conflict there and you can look at a place they certainly on now and it's. You know a burgeoning democracy that that that's doing very well for itself and so. You know that process that that that process from conflicts to you know peaceful democratic society was only. Consumer driven here in the United States. What this gives me a lot of hope but it also is scares me that because of what you're implying is that if we the consumers take our eye off the ball. And get a little bit lazy and putting the pressure on the people were buying our products from that -- A lapse back into their. Profit first directions. Sure well I think it's a lot like governments and that way you know you need to stay on top of your representatives and the people that. That are that that's. Benefit from your support. You know you have to be you have to be active in and letting them know when you've got a problem with their actions -- I'm -- and they think that you know -- that the pressure on. Company does not have to be ethical -- also keep their prices low and that's the reason you CD's fragmented supply -- and and these require factories cutting corners is they're all trying to keep the prices -- because that is. Maybe a bigger consumer demand often -- and being ethical -- can be fair. When you -- these fragmented nineteenth and particularly in China he can be very difficult boiler. The company. To come in and -- out exactly what's going on new and a lot of workers that we talked to -- -- factory saying that. Are told not to be honest when there's an odd that they told not to talk about the problems when the big company content and when Apple comes in to do an audit. They are specifically told don't tell him about this explains -- -- it can be very difficult when you're outsourcing on here. Many -- and to figure out what's actually going on inside the factory. We had a listener Peter who sent us this email he said I am part of the iPod generation and I feel like we get a lot of criticism for blindly purchasing things what can we do about this obviously everybody's not going to stop buying iPods laptop that's that are. Anything other than demanding change from the manufacturers and our government and here so here I -- here here's the positive angle here what can we. Our listeners that consumers do in order to keep things moving art direction. I'd say demand transparency. About -- -- products come from who made them and under what conditions. Absolutely I would it I agree with that I figured that 100% and -- you know. From from our perspective in the conflict minerals issue. Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do right now besides put pressure on the companies -- pressure on your. Elected representatives. Because it's in at this point impossible to you know certify that something -- a 100% conflict free and so it doesn't exist but you you know like we've been saying that. That that the need to start to change that is going to be. At a consumer demand and like happens at a demand for transparency to show that that that these are -- -- manufactured responsibly. -- second so if I for the sake of argument want to buy. A shoe that I know is made. Locally in conditions -- -- support or I want to buy -- a pound of beef. -- I wanna Trace it back the farm and and how it's raised I can do these things today. If I want to buy say a mobile phone that has made without conflict materials -- -- made in and man -- that I know is something I can support where's that product company gets such a product. The product doesn't exist right now and that's what that's what we're working ports. And you know I think like if I said earlier I think that there's positive steps being made no but but we're not there yet. Right I mean I can't even I live in China with -- long time I've been and a lot of factory and it incredibly hard to Trace a single product from one factory to another from component to component him. The end product I I don't know that it's even possible. Well let's talk sorry -- gonna I'm just gonna say that the good news -- -- not talk to to major companies I won't. -- -- -- dialogues among the people that you don't major electronics manufacturers very notable -- said that they've been able to -- there's a pledging to started doing it they've been trying to do they said it's an incredibly painful process but they've done it and they -- you just have to go component by component and so. People are there are starting are starting to get there. And and we can get there but it's just it's it's a long and it's hard process and you have to have the will at the top levels of these companies. -- to do it so it's certainly not impossible and and were closed and it's gonna take you know continuing to keep this issue in the spotlight and he conceded to apply pressure. To get to the point where we can finally start. Saying you know we can buy stuff in the store that's that's conflict -- Well. So suppose we we we have this effect and we keep the pressure up on our. Brand companies the ones that we identify with -- we buy products from what happens then do products become. More expensive. Yes do they didn't go on with that and last but other positive a positive impacts. Go ahead welcome -- side of things I mean if you want things -- -- you have to be willing to pay higher wages to pay proper overtime pay proper benefits. It's of course the classic -- -- the number one class in manufacturing and labor and so if you're going to do everything in manufacturing right you live across the kind of go up. The end consumer -- going because consumer -- gonna have to be willing to pay more and what happens if we can't get. Our. Are materials from the Congo only have to buy them at me from other countries where the minds have not yet been developed in the prices go up there what happens to conditions in say the Congo. I'm -- -- one of the worst things that could happen if it somehow some sort of -- back to embargo was put in place or people stop buying in the region -- and that and this is one of the main messages need accident companies is that. You know there is such a large amounts of these materials herein may be some people say oh we don't need those and we can sort somewhere else well I think it into the day. You know they're gonna need the resources that are there. At some point in there at and they really are they really are fast but if you stop sourcing from the Congo now -- I mean in the eastern Congo. It just about every sector of society it's affected by. The the the the mining economy there you know the people working in the minds along the transport routes in the -- everybody's got a little peace in this. And if all of a sudden in all you know. Thousands hundreds of thousands of people don't have jobs now or don't have a -- you're opening yourself up to. You know. Huge instability people being recruited or willfully joining some rebel groups because there's nothing else they can do. You know forced prostitution or worse. Enslave -- all of these kind of things and so you know just saying okay well you know this is to be responsible we're -- withdrawal from the Congo is -- actually totally irresponsible. So you know in the company's and the companies -- listening understand in the government's not listen understand and that's why you know people are trying to work. To put in place some sort of like alternative livelihood options for where miners and support and things like that but -- at an all out ban on minerals. Resource from the conflict AM I think it's unrealistic because I think that there's enough there that people needed -- -- it it was to happen even in the short term. Would be very could potentially be very damaging. So where do you folks. Aaron -- Kathleen see this going assuming a ongoing pressure on businesses to improve the way they source and -- materials. What is the best possible outcome and what's the timeframe for that. Well. You know it's difficult to -- difficult to say -- -- You know. I think I think we're close -- -- companies are working together. Like I said with the government and with with others. And and that's you know I don't I'm hesitant to put -- timeframe on it you know whatever. Take shape obviously these things have to go through various generations they take time they'll be problems we'll have to be addressed -- and and and readjusted and so. You know I think. -- I think we're close I think in the next couple years that we're gonna have at least. You know some sort of solid. If not you know -- year we'll have some sort of solid framework that we can say this is moving us in the right direction this is -- this is the right start. What's companies do you think are going to be the first ones to let's start making it clear that they are. -- doing the right thing here. Well the companies you know they're they're they're. I guess wisely from from their perspective there operating within these these -- and so instead -- speaking individually. On their all kind of you know behind a single screen of an organization like the ICC where. They'll work to establish study noted that the tracing anonymous auditing and certification reporting in the framework and all that sort of thing. And then they can all say now we can use you know decertified smelter is already certified processors that -- Leave -- the green -- there are through our trade group. And you know now the same time we can all be part of this is that -- one country one company going out in taking the lead -- saying look we don't know everyone can follow. It's kept me as assume for the sake of argument that fox con continues its push to com become it workers' paradise for you were vitally. Wages go up costs go up and manufacturers. -- -- -- companies want to keep their costs down and it won't do of the jobs just move to. Somewhere else where they're not as -- in the prices are down it is their way around the cycle. Potentially I don't know it's a tough question on tech issues I mean we say we're seeing now with apparel garments the low and manufacturing. But where -- can become a company. Agent that infrastructure and other things it's not an easy thing to pick up and moved to Bangladesh aren't cheap labor market and I don't think the company necessarily want to move out of China they've invested so much in it. There have been breaking point and I think you're right and I think -- -- that I'm UP percent. We're starting to -- -- now also come from Chinese workers which is a new thing this this summer there -- a lot of strikes there were. A lot of calls from the workers themselves for higher wages and better conditions so. That's gonna be an interest thing. Next I think we have an eighteen direct pressure from the Chinese workers on these issues before -- it I think that it I think that things could happen. Maybe fairly quickly now. Okay now it to wrap up here you you both said when I I raise -- question of what can consumers do in order to keep things moving in the right direction for ethical -- products. To demand transparency. How do we as consumers demand transparency what can we practically do aside from thing that I want something what -- we practically do. To make our voice known where do we go. It. What are that would -- a practical steps for us to take -- consumers with buyers. -- -- good contracts and I mean I think it pretty -- it -- -- into that anyone can go company's website and find a contact and it's -- -- Al asking me who made my phone who made my laptop and under what conditions I want now. Think the consumers also need to be willing to tell the companies that they would be willing to potentially paying more for these products. In order to happen knowledge that they were not made at the expense of someone else. Okay and Kathleen by the way it works that have a global post you can find her work and global post dot com. -- -- Yeah. You know. Use. It in order to kind of press these issues I think -- -- -- -- a bit political if you wanna make a difference you know I mean this. There our our government has is now involved in this week past. The legislation that that that mandates that these companies you know map their supply chains and and source responsibly and so. I think you know we're in the process like -- said earlier of creating a regulations for that the State Department is involved. And developing strategies. To help companies figure out where they can source responsibly also work with governments to create the environment in which minerals can be -- responsibly. So you know people can. Write letters and emails -- they're congressmen -- senators the Department of State. You know Steve Jobs whoever and say you know we're concerned about this and we wanna we wanna see transparency and want to see change in and you know you can you can look at places like our website -- and enough project out organ. And then you can see. You know literature on some of these industry organizations and you know if you if you get in contact with that accompanied your choice of the -- you like you can say we hope you're being active within you know this. This this process whether -- be the ICC or whether the other industry traders. So it's really just you know being loud about it keeping the spotlight on the issue and and and being persistent. Thank you -- -- Stephen thrifts and a chat room points out we're in a great -- now with Twitter FaceBook MySpace that are employees and customers and whistle blowers are empowered today so. Eric your point if people want to be loud about it you can be loud on the Internet if you get -- -- -- you know Twitter followers -- -- three tweaks you can actually one person can make a difference. And every disguised. You know in the in the summer reading meeting -- shut you know senators' FaceBook pages down companies I think Intel shut there. -- -- chat. Functional autism or other common function up at some point and we had so many people that work and edit it right in the run up to this bill. It's sending in messages on FaceBook or Twitter and all these various social media. Avenues and and it had a huge and I mean it really is it it really is a powerful. Happening. Great Kathleen -- think final. Don't just to stay at that I mean I think it's fantastic that this is happening on that conflict monoxide and I don't think there -- quite as many advocates that they're looking out for the Chinese workers. And may may have to do it themselves. Chris FaceBook and Twitter blocked in China so that much more difficult. Well maybe we can start from here them. We'll do we can Kathleen and again from Kathleen McLaughlin from global post global post dot com Aaron hall from me enough project enough project dot org. If you would like replays of this and all show notes you can find it on reporters roundtable. That's reporters roundtable dot cnet.com you can email me roundtable at cnet.com follow -- Twitter are AFP. In the show notes on reporters roundtable -- -- overcome my I have a whole list of great stories and resources including some good stores from New York Times. Links on the enough project in global post or all this and all the latest news on this so go there. Thank you Aaron thank you Kathleen thank you for the need -- for this thing. And with the -- all next week thanks for watching everyone engenders. -- --
On Reporters' Roundtable hosted by CNET's Rafe Needleman, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg responds to a memo to Apple employees from CEO Tim Cook regarding working conditions in Chinese factories that make Apple products. The memo came the same week Duhigg's co-written article, "In China, Human Costs are built into an iPad," was published in The New York Times.
We inspect a boatload of gadgets and wonder if supersmart robots will put humanity in jeopardy.
Did you ever wonder how your iPhone screen got its color? It's from rare-earth minerals. CNET's Jay Greene takes you on a tour of a rare-earth mineral mine in California, where you'll see firsthand how rocks become the pixie dust that powers your iPhone.
In a House subcommittee hearing for global human rights, Rep. Tom Lantos accuses four major U.S. technology companies of "complete compliance" with Chinese repression of civil rights and political dissent. Their actions are, he says, "a disgrace."
iPhones, iPads, and most other small electronics are assembled in vast factories in China. Reports on working conditions at these plants are not favorable. Could Apple do more to improve conditions? Could the jobs be brought to the U.S. instead? And would consumers care either way? We discuss with New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, and the author and performer of "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," Mike Daisey.
The intrepid Buzz Report crew brings you the *real* highlights from CES 2008, including what might be the best Gadget of the Week ever.
Gizmodo paid for an iPhone, largely thought of as an ethical lapse, but ethical problems have plagued journalism since long before blogging. In the Roundtable today, CNET Editor in Chief Scott Ard and the Poynter Institute's Kelly McBride discuss how new forms of media are changing what we expect from our news sources.
PlantSense combines a USB gadget with temperature, light, and humidity sensors, and a Web database to help you find the right plant for the right place.
In the wake of Watson completely obliterating its human opponents on Jeopardy, we sit down with two experts on human/computer competition to discuss the similarities and perennial differences between the two types of minds.
What happens to the gadgets we review after we're done reviewing them? Mailbag investigates.