[Community] Making a “fair” OpenPhoenux?

Sebastian Beschke sebastian at sbeschke.de
Mon Apr 8 10:12:10 CEST 2013


Hi everyone,

as Nikolaus recently asked for visions regarding future incarnations of
OpenPhoenux, I would like to bring up the topic of a fair, sustainable
and transparent supply chain. It’s a topic that is gaining momentum at
the moment, with projects like Nager-IT [1] and FairPhone [2]. For a
general introduction into the issue, I highly recommend watching
Sebastian Jekutsch’s talk at the 29C3 last year [3].

Let me briefly motivate: As many of you may know, most electronic
products available today are produced under horrifying working
conditions. This starts with raw materials, which are often mined under
conditions of extreme poverty, dangerous working conditions, and child
labour. Manufacturing of components and devices, largely in China and
Southeast Asia, also makes use of worker exploitation, including health
hazards, debt bondage, illegal working conditions. As supply chains in
IT are multi-tiered and extremely complex, it is very hard even for
device makers to be certain what exactly is in their devices in terms of
fairness. I don’t think any consumer really wants to buy this sort of
devices, and that we should push towards making the process more fair
and transparent.

I have to admit that I haven’t been involved with OpenPhoenux so far, so
I don’t know where exactly the project stands on these issues, and I’d
be glad to learn about it. The GTA-04 Facts and Reasons page [4] states
that the board is made “in Germany under proper working conditions”,
which I think is a commendable start.

I’m interested to know how the community – and Golden Delicious – feel
about working further on these issues. This could start with making the
supply chain transparent, as has been done by Nager-IT for their
partially-fair computer mouse [5]. (I could not find any information
about this on the wiki, so if there is any, please kindly point me to it!)

The next step would be making efforts to source more components and
resources from “fair” sources (meaning good and safe working conditions,
no child labour, adherence to standards of the International Labour
Organisation).

At FIfF (a German NGO), we have a working group on “fair computers” [6],
and one thing we are looking towards is connecting with open hardware
projects such as OpenPhoenux. If there is some interest in this topic in
the community, I think we could contribute at least some knowledge and
contacts. As such, I am looking forward to further discussions with you.

Best Regards,
Sebastian

[1] http://www.nager-it.de/ (A project to build a fair computer mouse)
[2] http://www.fairphone.com/ (A platform concerned with building a fair
smartphone)
[3]
http://media.ccc.de/browse/congress/2012/29c3-5121-de-en-sind_faire_computer_moeglich_h264.html
[4] http://projects.goldelico.com/p/gta04-main/page/FactsAndReasons/
[5] http://www.nager-it.de/static/pdf/en_lieferkette.pdf
[6] http://fiff.de/themen/fair_it

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