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Phone Story Pulled From iTunes

sjohnson
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Posted September 15, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson

Phone Story

MolleIndustries, creators of excellent indie game Every Day the Same Dream, recently released a mobile game called Phone Story on Android and iOS. The game, meant to "provoke a critical reflection on its own technological platform," may have worked better than the makers intended: Apple pulled the app from its store a few hours after release.

The game sheds light on the manufacturing process by which we come by our shiny smart phones, and Apple, makers of shiny smart phones, objected. Specifically, Apple pulled the game for violating 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

I understand the objections about donations, but banning an app that "depicts abuse of children" by a company that may actually abuse children, by doing business with firms that hire underage workers in foreign countries, is pretty troubling... the level of cognitive dissonance is astounding, actually.

According to the creators of Phone Story, the process of exploitation that ends with you having an iPhone or other smart phone begins in mines overseen by armed taskmasters, where prisoners-of-war and children as young as eight mine Coltan, a critical component in electronics. The game dramatizes this situation in an effort to get you to think about where your phone came from.

The makers of the app promise to resubmit it, after updating it in a way that "depicts the violence and abuse of children involved in the electronic manufacturing supply chain in a non-crude and non-objectionable way."  I'm not sure how you can portray making children work in mines as "non-objectionable" as almost everyone in the world objects to the practice, but I guess you can try...

You can still play it on your Android.

All of the best people are following Stephen Johnson's twitter feed. Also, email me if you wanna.

Phone Story Pulled From iTunes
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