Xbox Controllers Made with Hard Labor?

Microsoft is looking into allegations that KYE Systems, a Dongguan, China, manufacturer of its Web cams and Xbox controllers (it supplies other vendors as well), has been running a "militaristic" sweat shop. The story at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that a three-year investigation by the National Labor Committee, a human rights organization, includes claims that "teens recruited from high schools across China," some as young as 14, are laboring under the same brutal working conditions aside other young adult workers.

Not immune to the labor controversy, Apple has been scrutinizing operations of its partners after similar reports alleging similar harsh working conditions at a plant in Suzhou, China, where iPod and iPhone components are assembled.

Google or Bing "sports apparel" and "child labor" and you'll get pages of links with similar exposes and reports. Isn't technology supposed to be different in this regard, promising to improve our lives and our work? Or am I just exposing my naivete?

In any case, what should companies like Microsoft and Apple do to abolish such labor practices? And what should we as consumers do -- if anything -- to see that companies act appropriately in such circumstances? Take the mouse next to your keyboard or your iPod, and look at the label under it, think about who assembled it, and then send me your feedback at mdomingo@1105media.com.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/16/2010 at 11:59 AM


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