In reaction to @PaulaFairphone’s great Intro to the community:
I’m Paula from the Fairphone Community.
Just heard of this community through @aschrijver’s post here.
From browsing this forum a bit I see it concentrates more on the software side than the hardware side of technology. I didn’t find a lot of topics about Fairphone’s core principles here:
- conflict free & fair mining
- working conditions
- circular economy
But to be fair even on the Fairphone forum we talk a lot about software. You can run the Fairphone almost completely without G%§$e or any other big company’s software that spies on you.
You are absolutely right that there is less focus on Humane Tech hardware. But I think this applies to the wider world as well. Fairphone is unique in that it investigated the whole supply chain and production line of a smartphone, striving to improve where possible.
I am using Samsung myself, which is much worse still. Besides (probably) inhumane production issues, they are horrible, horrible privacy invaders. The one thing they have going for them as opposed to Apple is the openness of the Android developer platform.
Most people only look to the user / consumer side of the equation. E.g. Apple iOS phones score well (especially with recent focus on Privacy as USP), but completely forget about the scandals some years ago surrounding their production (Foxconn), let alone how the materials are sourced.
What I really like is that Fairphone is now also looking at the software side, the OS’es. I follow e.foundation’s /e/ development for a while, and voted for that OS in the Poll on the Fairphone community forum. I am not sure what OS’es are officially supported right now (seeing only Android 7.1.2 Nougat on the product page).
The way Fairphone is manufactured is a big, big (huge) selling point, of course. But personally I have become a bit of a privacy geek (being part of this community automatically makes you so ). You can install LineageOS (and also Fairphone Open which I do not know much about, but looks cool), but apparently LineageOS is still making requests to Google even without GApps installed (e.g. see this HN discussion).
Below image (taken from e.foundation website) gives an indication of how often regular phones may contact Google (just indicative, coming from this study (PDF)):
Another phone I am following, that is not humanely produced (AFAIK) is the puri.sm Librem5. What attracts me here is the privacy-first focus and building both hardware and software with that in mind from the ground up. This phone has hardware switches for turning off Wi-fi, camera, mic, etc. And it is attractive to me as a developer, because it can run any Linux distro (but it will not run regular Android apps initially).
Something I’d like to see in Fairphone is modularity when ordering. E.g. I don’t need the front camera for taking selfies. Maybe I even don’t need the camera at the back.
But anyway, Fairphone is great humane tech. In this forum we have an Exemplars category to contain the best examples of Humane Tech, with the purpose to learn from them and continue to evaluate their development. And in future we may do more with these exemplars (like actively promote them on our website and social media channels).
I think Fairphone warrants a well-deserved place in the Humane Tech Exemplars category