Ethical Design & Human Rights: what about manufacturing labor?

In response to this article:

and all the usage of the phrases “ethical design” and “human rights” I just have to ask: who is building the actual physical products? What are their working conditions? Where are the raw materials coming from? How are those materials obtained?

It seems extremely narrow-minded to me to use phrases like “ethical” and “human rights” if the focus is exclusively on software made and used by healthy, wealthy, free, western people.

This rabbit hole has brought me to this project:

I seriously think if the Librem phone is not made with real concern for human rights and ethics, then those buzzwords should be eradicated from all websites and documentation around the product, including the little “pyramid with red balloon” logo from ind.

If Purism is truly committed to ethics and human rights, they should at least contact fairphone and make sure their product complies with those standards.

Any thoughts on this?



Purism is working on a phone in a way that nobody has done before. Kill switch shall be normal : no smartphone has it. OS shall not be intrusive : no smartphone has it. Even Android Custom ROMS. Last time I was asking to a developer of Resurrection Remix (Android Open Source) why there is a Statistic process in the OS, and why it can’t be uninstalled ? No clear answer.

Anyway, I agree with you about human rights, it is a huge concern. However, what is our current phone ?

  • iphone ? with all the human rights we know ?
  • android ? similar to above ?
  • fairphone ? with googletagmanager in their website, is this what we can call fair ?

Let’s keeping talk about fairphone : they say :

“In 2015, 771.4 million smartphones were produced in China.” […] “Broadway, Fairphone 2 Case manufacturer”.

…like if China was a bad country, and we should all build in US/Europe.

This country is famous about electronics because the labour cost is lower (but life cost too), and because they have huge manufacturing plants. That’s all, cost, and more flexibility in terms of quality process, production (people vs machine ratio), and policy.

Despite that, I really like Fairphone policy, but they shall be careful about what they say. If I was Chinese, I would not be happy to read such sentence from their website.

Anyway, I agree with the message you want to communicate, and it should be fine to get more details from Purism team about manufacturing conditions.

PS : this is your first post, welcome in purism community !


Have you never heard of Replicant, the Free Software Foundation endorsed Android distribution?


I do believe LineageOS has an opt-out feature of its telemetry service, but could not say for sure.
LineageOS also does not ship with Google Apps by default, which is a huge plus regarding privacy.

But we’re moving away from the main topic, which is human rights of the workers actually making the phone :slight_smile:


Thank you, Replicant looks pretty nice, I was not aware about it. The problem is mainly the supported devices, be cause only old hardware were compatible with free drivers. Bu I will consider it.


I was not aware about this feature. Thank you for making me learn it, I will check how to disable telemetry.
But coming back to the Librem 5, the best feature is the kill switch. It is hardware, no current, no function. No more possibility to be tracked by Mobile network operator antenna.

Anyway, as you said, let’s keep discussing about human rights.

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I stumbled across an organisation called Electronics Watch, which is concerned with the labour rights of people manufacturing electronics. Not directly applicable to the Librem 5, as they are focused on public sector procurement policy in European countries, but seems tangentially relevant to this thread.


i was wondering about the same questions as @pinheadmz regarding the ethical questions around the production of the devices and the raw materials.

@purism team: are ethical questions / hardware side of things of concern to you? do you include these questions in the planning process ?

(& if not: do you plan to bring transparency to the public under which circumstances the devices & raw materials are produced?)

don’t get me wrong: i expect the workload on making a phone “ethically” correct on the software / design side already a big pile of work that is really meaningful to pursue.
nevertheless i guess there might a bunch of people out there that would appreciate to have a phone in there hands, knowing that it was produced under good circumstances (include me :slight_smile:) and that it makes a difference to use the librem devices also from the environmental/ethical perspective might open up a new customer base



Related topics:

In short, I’d like to see that happen, but as @mdt already said there, “you can’t save the world in one stroke”.
Many already think Purism is too expensive. A perfectly ethical device that comes out in five years from now at a price 100 people are willing to pay before they file bankruptcy helps nobody.

But bundling a Nager IT mouse would really be a good start and show good will.

a very good observation.

i believe that without MERCY there can be no freedom, no ethics, no TRUTH seeking moral code and everything else just leads to the “end of the road” with no perspective of redemption. no LOVE.

in this pursuit of happiness nothing screams “blunder” more than destroying the “organ” that is employed to gain VISION. what the “eye” can’t see remains a mistery which serves to further erode TRUST. without TRUST there is only darkness and CHANCE … but also there is HOPE … and this is where the stakes are the highest.