iPhone 4 Conflict Free Edition: the well known pranksters "The Yes Men" stroke again. This time their target is apple. The fake advertising website apple-cf.com promotes "conflict free" produced iPhones and promises more corporate responsibility. Minerals used in the production of Apples iPhone 4 are extracted from mines in the Congo, where conflicts killed up to five million people. (Read this article in German)
(Update)The Yes Men told macnotes that apple indeed forced their upstream provider to take down the site (Google Translation). They want to bring the page contents back on the net ASAP, though this "... reaction just shows where their big mechanical (and conflict-mineral-rich) corporate heart is at. More is learned by that than would be by keeping the website up."(/Update)
"We have taken the time to find a new approach to our mineral sourcing in order to ensure that our products only work to help the people of the Congo rather than exacerbate the already occuring problems there. In order to do so this Apple aims not only to purpose conflict free products but also to raise awareness and force other companies on this challenging path of change.",
reads the promise on apple-cf.com. The Yes Men also name people carrying responsibility for the ongoing conflicts in the third world:
"You can also perform a citizen's arrest against shareholders and officers of the mining companies that have been implicated in pillaging the resources of the Congo and fueling the conflict in the Congo over the past 14 years. Why not start with John Paulson, the majority shareholder of AngloGold Ashanti, the mining company most responsible for financially supporting rebel groups and furthering the Congo conflict. His office is located in New York at 1251 6th Ave, Floor 50."
Apple is the last in a long row of corporations and organizations being attacked by the Yes Men. Best known is their prank against Dow Chemical, the company which bought Union Carbide, being responsible for the large dioxine accident in India more than 20 years ago. They promised to take responsibility and pay for the damages done, what Dow Chemical had to deny shortly after.
Apples Reaction on the "iPhone CF" is yet to come. Cupertino is well known for its harsh reactions on unallowed use of trademarks and designs, so the Yes Mens' perfect copy of Apples style on the fake site will not stay unrecognized. Still, even the WTO did not take down GATT.org, the Yes Mens fake information site on WTOs "General Agreement on Terms of Trade". A gatt.org-email adress is being used as contact adress for the registration of the apple-cf.com-Domain. On gatt.org itself the actual headline reads "WTO Announces Formalized Slavery Market For Africa".