These are the ‘smart’ devices that we rely upon to keep us connected. We record, we share, we watch, we listen, we read, we research and we learn, all through a single device.
For these devices, we pay a premium price.
Technological innovation has allowed them to become smaller, more complex, more versatile and more entertaining. We buy these devices because we feel that they improve our lives.
These consumer electronics often cost more than the yearly income of a large portion of the world. Despite this, consumption of these devices has become a necessity of our modern tech-based life.
Innovation by major tech companies is both applauded and critiqued.
However, the hype around new devices generates consumer interest and encourages purchasing on a massive scale.
But what if our insatiable appetite for the latest electronic gadgets is actually fuelling despair, deprivation and oppression in the same world we strive to connect with?
Apple, 2014, A factory worker in Apple’s supply chain, from the company’s Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report, image, Apple.com, accessed June 2nd 2016 http://www.cnet.com/au/news/apple-chastised-for-unsafe-working-conditions-in-supplier-factory/
Apple, 2015, iPhone 6s – The Only Thing That’s Changed Is…, online video, Sep 9, YouTube, accessed June 2nd 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBYWGjIzvyw
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 2011, Implementing the Conflict Minerals Provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, image, accessed June 2nd 2016, https://goo.gl/w6FfFk
Enough Project, 2010, Child miners as young as eleven in Eastern Congo, image, Flickr, accessed June 2nd 2016, Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No derivatives license, https://goo.gl/w6FfFk
Enough Project, 2009, Used in cell phones and laptop computers, the 3Ts: tin, tantalum, and tungsten are also sold profitably by armed groups in eastern Congo. Seen here is tin ore, image, Flickr, accessed June 2nd 2016, Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No derivatives license, https://goo.gl/p9kYQp
Global Witness, 2015, Conflict Minerals in Europe, image, Globalwitness.org, accessed June 2nd 2016 https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/conflict-minerals/conflict-minerals-europe-brief/
Lezhnev, S 2012, Minerals – Tin ore, image, Flickr, accessed June 2nd 2016, Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No derivatives license, https://goo.gl/NoaGWB
Parts, K 2014, Over 1000 people in line to get the new iPhone 6 at Toronto’s Eaton Centre, image, Twitter, accessed June 2nd 2016 https://twitter.com/KristinaParts/status/512937206479351808
Peterson, D 2011, All Alone In the Night – Time lapse footage of the earth as seen from the ISS, online video, Oct 6, YouTube, accessed June 2nd 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG0fTKAqZ5g
Raw Materials Group, 2011, Overview of State Ownership in the Global Minerals Industry, The World Bank, Extractive Industries for Development Series, no. 20, accessed 4th June 2016 http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTOGMC/Resources/GlobalMiningIndustry-Overview.pdf
Samsung, 2016, Unpacking Samsung, online video, Feb 8, YouTube, accessed June 2nd 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2q7y50zxNU
Seay, L 2011, ‘What’s Wrong with Dodd-Frank 1502? Conflict Minerals, Civilian Livelihoods, and the Unintended Consequences of Western Advocacy’, Working Paper, no. 284, Centre for Global Development, accessed online 4th June 2016 http://www.cgdev.org/publication/what%E2%80%99s-wrong-dodd-frank-1502-conflict-minerals-civilian-livelihoods-and-unintended
Thorne, B 2015, Customers wait in line outside Apples Inc.’s George Street store ahead of the stores opening to preview the Apple Watch in Sydney, image, Fortune, accessed June 2nd 2016, http://fortune.com/2015/04/10/videos-lining-up-for-a-glimpse-of-the-apple-watch/