Game maker with a message, Molleindustria (NSFW), may have stumbled on a sure-fire way to shine a light on the dark side of the electronics industry: create an iOS app about it and get it banned by Apple.
Long story short, the company created a game called Phone Story based on the unsavory practices surrounding the manufacture and “recycling” of today’s popular gadgets, namely smartphones like the iPhone. The app showcases the mining of conflict minerals; an obvious reference to Foxconn suicides; planned obsolescence and how e-waste blights the developing regions where it’s stripped for their raw components.
Needless to say, Phone Story was banned from the iTunes app store. Officially, the app is in violation of the following rules:
15.2 Apps that depict violence or abuse of children will be rejected
16.1 Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected
21.1 Apps that include the ability to make donations to recognized charitable organizations must be free
21.2 The collection of donations must be done via a web site in Safari or an SMS
Even so, it’s obvious that Phone Story hits too close to home. It’s not hard to see why Apple doesn’t want something like Phone Story in its app catalog.
The suicide bit is a touchy subject, to say the least. And it’s an unflattering reminder of how the Apple brand became synonymous with the tragedy. (To be fair, Foxconn contracts with several big electronics and computer companies apart from Apple.) To Apple’s credit, the company put pressure on Foxconn to improve conditions and is one of the backers of rules that aim to purge supply lines of conflict minerals.
Molleindustria says that it is contesting the last two reasons and is exploring tweaks to remedy the other two. For the curious, the app is currently available on the Android platform.
Regarding the cause, if it’s attention Molleindustria wanted, they certainly got it. Just maybe not in the way they intended.
Image credit: Molleindustria
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