On Tuesday, Intel announced that the new crop of Google Chromebooks arriving this summer will be built with something called “conflict-free” chips.
This means that the Intel computer chips that power the device won’t use materials that came from slave labour.
You’ve probably heard of Blood Diamonds, diamonds that come from war-torn areas in Africa and mines run by warlords known for horrific human rights abuses.
But did you know that many of the consumer electronic devices you own also include materials that come from mines run by such warlords?
Consumer devices are all made with minerals like gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten that come from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This area of the Congo is described by one anti-slave group as “the deadliest spot in the poorest continent on earth.”
We don’t need to describe the type of abuses that go on in these mines. We’ll just say that they involving capturing people, including children, forcing them to work in the mines and subjecting them to all sorts of horrors.
Instead of yanking money from the country and buying minerals from another region, Intel has been working with mines in the Congo that do not use slave labour practices. The effort has taken years, but the company is finally producing chips made with 100% conflict-free minerals.
“People should have a conflict-free choice,” said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platforms Group said during a press conference with Google to announce the new Chromebooks.