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Nintendo Ranks Last In Conflict Minerals Report

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the no-blood-for-1up-mushrooms dept.

Nintendo 134

derekmead writes "A new report by the Enough Project, an arm of the Center for American Progress, shows that companies like Intel, Apple and Microsoft have been successfully scaling back their use of conflict minerals in their products. Other companies have been less helpful. Out of the 24 companies surveyed and ranked based on their use of conflict minerals, Nintendo came in dead last, having made no effort to ensure that its products weren't funding guerrilla warfare in Africa. 'Nintendo is, I believe, the only company that has basically refused to acknowledge the issue or demonstrate they are making any sort of effort on it,' said Sasha Lezhnev from the Enough Project. 'And this is despite a good two years of trying to get in contact with them.'"

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Good reason not to care about the report (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036551)

If you formally score someone 0/10 points on measure X just because they don't want to talk to you about X, then your assessment is pretty much worthless.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036615)

Agreed. and what a worthless report...

Let's line up 1000 equally or more important issues and make sure that the entities that wrote the report and the post follow them all or report them each individually as a /. post.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036621)

It's also a report from an organization trying to push their own "certification" program, which in the corporate world means "pay us and give us significant influence over you or we'll do our best to make everyone hate you". If they actually wanted to help they'd be working on the actual supply chains, not trying to strong-arm big companies.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037153)

So, this is a "carbon credits" type scam? Go Nintendo! :)

More importantly... (5, Interesting)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#41037209)

It's wasted effort. Minerals are fungible commodities. Choosing not to buy minerals from a particular source doesn't affect anything, as they just end up being sold to someone else for the same price.

About the only thing efforts like this are good for is PR and raising prices. Programs like this don't have any tangible impact in the conflict areas.

Re:More importantly... (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41037645)

Also, one need to look at what the replacement are. I'd much rather the money went to Africa, than to, say, China.
Even if it goes to areas of war. This does nothing to address the root causes of the conflicts, and the wars won't become less barbaric if there is no influx of money. People gut each other just as horribly with spears.
And some of the money will get spent locally, which increases the overall welfare. We need to stop trying to punish the bad guys when it also hurts the little guys.

The effect of this well-intended ban on central African minerals is that up to 90% of legitimate mines have closed, and people starve as a result, and take to weapons. Well done -- you should feel proud of yourselves.

See you guys later -- I'm off to the stores to buy a Nintendo.

Re:More importantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037953)

The money directly fuels weapons and violence. It isn't some random drain on the local economy when this money disappears, it directly removes weapons from the hands of the warlords that this funds.

Asian countries may not be 'inline' with western democracies, but they are at least engaged as a member nation of the world. It isn't as if the locals ran their own mines. Most were probably simple farmers, fisherman, etc. Removing this money will take the weapons out of the hands of criminals. No more, no less.

Re:More importantly... (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41038245)

It isn't as if the locals ran their own mines. Most were probably simple farmers, fisherman, etc. Removing this money will take the weapons out of the hands of criminals. No more, no less.

See Gershwin's law.

These people worked at the local mines, no matter who owned them, and up to 90% of them were legitimately owned, not controlled by a warlord. Now the workers have had their livelihood yanked from under them, and one of the few remaining options not to starve is to become a fighter.

And "taking the weapons out of the hands of criminals" does nothing to solve the problem. Getting fewer guns doesn't mean the wars will cease - these guys kill, maim and rape with spears and knives -- it just takes much longer.

Again, this does absolutely nothing to shorten the wars, just prolonging them. And making some westerners feel good about themselves.

Re:More importantly... (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 2 years ago | (#41040319)

What makes you think that removing the money will stop the weapons and the violence? This isn't organized crime. Money is not the motive. The motive is crazy. Religious crazy, narcissistic crazy, and maybe even some good old fashioned just plain crazy. Without the money, some plans will change but the violence will continue, regardless. A man who commits violent acts once he has a weapon in his hand had violence in his heart, before he had a gun in his hand.

If you want to promote peace in Africa, then you must first identify what groups of people are the source of it. When you have gathered that information, you may then choose whether to deal with them by diplomacy or force. Anything else is an impotent effort.

Re:More importantly... (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 2 years ago | (#41038125)

wrong, the money is spent by the evil overlord on italian sports cars, gold-plated weapons, home theater, swimming pools etc. while the general population is still enslaved, malnourished, digging in a hole and crushing their backs by carrying undecent amount of rocks. the overlord's hunchmen and the people who built its lavish villa do profit, though.

Re:More importantly... (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#41038887)

wrong, the money is spent by the evil overlord on italian sports cars, gold-plated weapons, home theater, swimming pools etc.

Have you ever played Far Cry 2 [wikipedia.org] ? It depicts really well the mansions and the palaces of those warlords that you speak about. Note: those palaces are dirty, rickety one- or two-story buildings.

Warlords do have access to some serious cash. But there is no way they can use that money in Africa. What do you do with a sports car on African roads? A jeep or a buggy are far better choices; at least they will last longer. Gold-plated weapons are at least useful when humidity is 100% all year round. Ferraris are not useful for anything until the warlord leaves Africa and buys himself a mansion in Italy.

Re:More importantly... (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 2 years ago | (#41040293)

Gold-plated weapons are at least useful when humidity is 100% all year round.

I guess I don't see how gold plating on weapons is "useful" at all, but how does humidity make it more or less so given the very stable nature of gold?

Re:More importantly... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#41038407)

Even if it goes to areas of war. This does nothing to address the root causes of the conflicts, and the wars won't become less barbaric if there is no influx of money. People gut each other just as horribly with spears.

Arguably, restricting trade - especially weapons trade - with conflicted areas makes things worse. After all, the attacker knows he's going to attack, so he can stockpile weapons beforehand; the defender doesn't necessarily know he'll be attacked, so he either maintains a huge stockpile all the time at the expense of investing in infrastructure and welfare, or he'll make himself a helpless target since he can't buy weapons once the war starts. The third alternative is get lots of weapons and put them to use by looting your neighbours; in other words, becoming a warlord.

Re:More importantly... (1)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#41039291)

The relative price for attacker and defender is the same, so restricting doesn't make anything worse, it just reduces the total number of weapons in the system. A cheap arms race is still an arms race, so if attacker is buying $X of guns the defender still has to match $X if your argument holds. The attacker will spend $X (because that's what the attack is worth to them) regardless of the precise bang for buck (for realistic values), so how will the defender avoid maintaining an equivalent stockpile?

There are only two cases in which your line of reasoning predicts a difference in this dynamic. Weapons are just too damn expensive, no one can afford any or weapons are close enough to free to be able to arm all your men to the teeth and have a huge reserve at hand for less than $X. Of course all that the latter acomplish is to have mercenaries hired for $X - cheap_guns. Come to think of it though, I've never heard the "an armed society is a polite society" folks advocating weapons drops to put a rifle in everyone's hands. Maybe they do understand the economics of violance better than they like to admit.

Re:More importantly... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41038127)

Choosing not to buy minerals from a particular source doesn't affect anything, as they just end up being sold to someone else for the same price

Only if there are other buyers. And, if a large number of buyers are unwilling to do business with some suppliers then the other buyers may be in a position to push the price down.

Re:More importantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41038259)

Not exactly. It's not just raising prices or PR, it's about controlling the markets.

Once you make it illegal the costs of buying from those "african rebels" will increase a lot. Leaving the mining companies with complete control of the market.

Good PR for the buyers and increased profits for the "legitimate" sellers are just a side bonus. The real increases will come later when those "alternate" markets are gone or under the "legitimate" sources control. By then, the market for those minerals will have increased quite a lot, and any slow down or bottleneck will have serious repercutions. The only alternative left for the buyers will be to accept any price increase.

Look at the "blood diamonds". It's the EXACT same situation. I believe the term is "artificial scarcity".

Re:More importantly... (1)

metrometro (1092237) | about 2 years ago | (#41038337)

Citation needed. If markets were efficient or rational all the time, then perhaps market price would always be met, but warzone commerce in central Africa is most assuredly not efficient or rational. Refusing purchase of conflict products has effects. Slavery and child labor still exist, but they are massively less common now that the practice is scandalous.

Re:More importantly... (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 2 years ago | (#41039277)

Are you certain?  Certain enough to talk it down?

It has made some impact in the blood diamond trade, and while diamonds are not "fungible", as you say, they certainly have no inherent value.  Metals can often be traced back to their source as well.

When it comes to trying to stop the enslavement of child soldiers in shithole third world countries, a real certification program could definitely make a difference, even if it's not perfect.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036781)

True. But to be fair, how do you investigate the source of minerals if the company won't tell you? If a company uses a lot of conflict minerals they will act just like Nintendo and keep quiet because people will point out that they simply didn't answer the survey.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (0)

Jessified (1150003) | about 2 years ago | (#41036963)

And how would you assess someone who won't participate?

"It's ridiculous that I got a zero on my final, I didn't even show up! This test is a worthless assessment."

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037021)

Well, it's more like "It's ridiculous that they gave me a zero for a class grade and they're trying to tell everyone in the world, I wasn't even enrolled at the school!"

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037035)

Problem is, they didn't enroll in that class. What would you score someone on the final that didn't enroll in the course?

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037043)

If you didn't sign up for the test/class in the first place, why would you care what score you get in the first place?

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037055)

False equivalence - "not showing up to an exam" presumes you have signed up to the exam and agreed to be graded according to a set of rules.

This is more like getting a grade of 0 for not showing up to the exam in a course you never signed up to held by a university you have never wanted to speak to.

If someone would not participate in an assessment and I had no other sources to assess them by then I would not assess them.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41038303)

is there any evidence that Nintendo is worse at actually ensuring they are using a minimum of conflict materials?

This sounds like little more than a reputation-hurting extortion scheme.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037107)

Greenpeace [enoughproject.org] is involved. Need I say more?

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (1, Interesting)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#41037355)

I particularly like how one of the bullet points explaining why they are lowest-ranked is "Lowest ranked company". It's like recursive bullshit.

The only reason I could see why most of these companies are rated badly is that they didn't want to spend the time and resources filling out surveys and auditing their supply chain for Greenpeace and their hippy brethren.

Japanese hubris (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#41037491)

It's the same reason why they still kill and consume whales.

They don't care.

Re:Japanese hubris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037529)

"My Nintendo game console came with blood and murder inside!"

Re:Japanese hubris (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41037839)

It's the same reason why they still kill and consume whales.

I have less problems with killing and consuming whales in a sustainable manner than the major death risks for whales, which are international shipping and by-catches.

Did you know that several species of marlin are endangered, and yet sports fishers catch them just to pose on a picture or hang the fish on a wall? Then they go back to their Prius and complain about a few whales being killed for food.

Re:Japanese hubris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037937)

actually, the majority of these douche-bag, sports fishermen-types, are the kind that wouldn't care less about the whales. the leftists, that you are trying to associate with it, are more apt to not kill either. so neener-neener. =P

Don't Be Ridiculous (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41038215)

It's the same reason why they still kill and consume whales.

They don't care.

No they still kill and eat whales because they think that whales are delicious. And since, in all likelihood, you've never tasted whale you're not really in a a position to argue against that particular point.

Re:Good reason not to care about the report (2)

slashfoxi (610738) | about 2 years ago | (#41038579)

And good for Nintendo. You can't legitimize every crank who comes calling. Though slashdot seems willing to do so.

oh great more Orwellian speak "conflict minerals" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036589)

How's about a can of shut the fuck up.

Re:oh great more Orwellian speak "conflict mineral (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#41036999)

Precisely! What's to say that Nintendo didn't get it from intermediaries who provided it to them, and didn't bother to check their sources so long as it met their quality standards?

Re:oh great more Orwellian speak "conflict mineral (1)

zoloto (586738) | about 2 years ago | (#41039367)

Who cares where this shit comes from?
No one's doing the same to block the US war machine are they? Then the rest of the world is culpable as well.
Oh that's right, they're darker skinned and in Africa so we have a moral duty to repress *cough* I mean help them out.
this shit makes me sick

Re:oh great more Orwellian speak "conflict mineral (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#41037307)

How's about a can of shut the fuck up.

I'll try some. Is that like conflict mineral water?

Re:oh great more Orwellian speak "conflict mineral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037485)

No, but it's great for the exploitation gland and tastes just like blood.

Re:oh great more Orwellian speak "conflict mineral (0)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41037543)

I think since china and the US are engaged in "conflict" (perhaps not directly with each other, but with other countries) then exports from those nations should be banned as "conflict" materials as well. What a bunch of assholes, the guys at this "enough project". Are there really any first world countries on the planet not engaged in some kind of conflict?
This article makes me want to go buy a second nintendo.

Fallacious (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036601)

If you read the report, Nintendo came in last because they didn't release information on their policies. Pretty silly ranking system.

Re:Fallacious (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41037537)

If you read the report, Nintendo came in last because they didn't release information on their policies. Pretty silly ranking system.

Think of it as a lower bound on their actual performance. They can tighten it up if they decide to cooperate.

Re:Fallacious (2)

petsounds (593538) | about 2 years ago | (#41037847)

It's like Mitt Romney and his refusal to release his tax records. He has no legal obligation to, but it sure creates a perception of suspicious behavior when he is so adamant about not releasing them. In the same way, Nintendo looks fairly suspect because they were the only major company who refused to participate.

To me, there is also an extra psychological multiplier at play because Nintendo is primarily selling products to kids. Products for children whose materials are sourced from "blood minerals" make people extra-uneasy.

Re:Fallacious (2)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 2 years ago | (#41037961)

To me, there is also an extra psychological multiplier at play because Nintendo is primarily selling products to kids. Products for children whose materials are sourced from "blood minerals" make people extra-uneasy.

"That's a nice reputation ya got there, specially with the kids. It'd be a shame if something happened to it. You wouldn't want anything like that to happen, right?"

Re:Fallacious (0)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 2 years ago | (#41038231)

I actually started to read it, but it started its argument citing dodd-frank. There is no sense even entering a discussion on certain things, which is why armed conflict remains a viable first choice for many. When these same politicos can control their own spending on nefarious deeds, they will have a little more room to critique others. Of course, the liberal rulebook is meant to be applied to others, not practiced by the cult.

Re:Fallacious (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 2 years ago | (#41038371)

Moreso, the adoption of facist tactics by the current liberal party makes it impossible for one to enjoy an occasional flight of fancy to a clearly well meaning agenda because it is constantly obscured by a facist wing we mistakenly thought was eradicated 70 years ago. We all are truly too soon old, and too late smart.

They exploit European characters also (0, Redundant)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#41036609)

Is that the Japanese company that lifted Italian and European characters Mario, Luigi, Pricess Peach, Zelda etc. to appease and penetrate our market?

Re:They exploit European characters also (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036693)

That just means they're open-minded and sensitive to other cultures and are willing to adapt to a global economy. There's no exploitation, quite the opposite, they should be applauded for using characters that go beyond their own borders.

Re:They exploit European characters also (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 2 years ago | (#41036783)

I'd mod parent up if i had any points left, simply for pointing out that almost any action can be spun to work for some agenda or other.

Re:They exploit European characters also (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036839)

"lifted"? They made them up. Are you saying that people should only create characters that come from their own country? That's just stupid and irrelevant.

Re:They exploit European characters also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036955)

on a related note: Marquis Saluzzo is a giant dick and I'm glad he got gannonbanned.

It is possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036641)

It is possible they do not believe everything they read or are told by someone else and are making choices based on profits.

-or-

Ever buy electronics / just about everything else at walmart? They support China and China has substantial environmental issues due to products sold at walmart.

Or maybe they just weren't noticed. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 2 years ago | (#41037453)

It is possible they do not believe everything they read or are told by someone else and are making choices based on profits.

-or-

Ever buy electronics / just about everything else at walmart? They support China and China has substantial environmental issues due to products sold at walmart.

Or maybe Nintendo wasn't even aware of this latest politically-correct hype until the hypemeisters called the company's PR number to see how the company was doing on their personal hotbutton issue and got a "Who the heck are you and why should we care?" brushoff.

I know I never encountered the term "conflict minerals" until reading this thread. To paraphrase Arlo: If they want to change the world and stuff they need to sing at least loud enough to be noticed.

Re:Or maybe they just weren't noticed. (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41037553)

I know I never encountered the term "conflict minerals" until reading this thread. To paraphrase Arlo: If they want to change the world and stuff they need to sing at least loud enough to be noticed.

It's a simple generalization of "conflict diamonds", which you should be familiar with if you're paying attention to what's going on in your world.

Re:Or maybe they just weren't noticed. (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 2 years ago | (#41038693)

Really?

It's been a "thing" for a least 20 years now

Nintendo doesn't pay them (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036697)

So they get a 0 on their survey that doesn't get answer. Same thing with the greenpeace thing. Nintendo doesn't pay them, so they come in last.

Re:Nintendo doesn't pay them (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41036867)

Same thing with the greenpeace thing. Nintendo doesn't pay them, so they come in last.

Nintendo uses whale parts in their products?

Re:Nintendo doesn't pay them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036959)

AWESOME.

End the violence, bring back imperialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036713)

The problem of conflicts over these minerals can be solved by stationing European armies in the war zones to provide stability and security. We can assign West Africa to France, Britain can have South Africa, Belgium can have the Congo...

Protectionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036743)

Isn't this program just thinly veiled protectionism?

You're not gonna stop a war by defunding both sides - you just cause them to use cheaper tactics.
If you have no guns and no knives, but neither does your opponent, you can still punch him to death.

But is sure is profitable to the sole provider of certified non-conflict minerals.

Fallacious II (-1)

Rotten (8785) | about 2 years ago | (#41036753)

"Conflict Minerals", it's a whole misleading concept. The Conflict is human, those minerals can be found at Eastern Congo, and are available in many other places.

Eastern Congo is the only available source, nor the most important or #1 producer of any of the so called "Conflict Minerals".

It's sad when political agenda mixes up in EVERYTHING. This is clearly -IMHO- of another NGO acting in the publicity area against companies who do not follow or play along their agenda.

my 2 cents

Re:Fallacious II (1)

Rotten (8785) | about 2 years ago | (#41036763)

typo: "Eastern Congo IS NOT the only..."

Re:Fallacious II (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036815)

I wouldn't call the animals in the Congo Human. Why do some insist all people who look human are human? As a scientist I can assure you they are animals that just look human. You can't tame an ape.

Re:Fallacious II (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036961)

The fifties called. They want their junk science back.

Old business interests at the big N (0, Offtopic)

ihatewinXP (638000) | about 2 years ago | (#41036757)

Yakuza.

Nintendo is an ooooooold company. Those same hidden hands that have been there for them when others have had 'supply chain problems' for decades are more useful than some transient body and bad press.

911 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036775)

I heard some Saudi student pilots were pretty adamant that Americans supported conflict oil in their homeland. This was a few years back though.

US seems to be doing most of the fighting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036793)

With a lot if the confics around the world been fueled by the two main military super powers why not mark them down in the conflict rating. I guess it's not a really about conflict materials but about the US is best.

Right, starving them of money is so going to help (1)

blacke4dawn (1747492) | about 2 years ago | (#41036803)

So once they've starved that financing option the guerrilla and government will find another way to finance their "war", and once that is shut down they will find another and then another and so on and so on, but none of this will actually contribute to a resolution of the actual root of the conflict, especially when they are starving the entire country of money and not just the conflict.

Different continent? (0, Offtopic)

Exitar (809068) | about 2 years ago | (#41036827)

Why should an asian company care for "an arm of the Center for American Progress" that, according to wikipedia, is "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action."?

Re:Different continent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036943)

Stop it with your un-Americanism!

Re:Different continent? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036979)

Because America is a huge market for that company's products. If people were to boycott them, it could hurt their profits. Of course no one will, and their competition does shit like this too. Another market failure.

protected whale research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036837)

you mean you guys didn't know that the wii is made of 55% whale bones?

But rape, slaughter and slavery is their culture (0)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#41036863)

and multiculturalism is the greatest good.

Thus, anyone trying to stop them from raping slaughtering and enslaving is A Very Bad Person!

No surprise (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036875)

Slants hate human rights. Those bigoted motherfuckers.

Freedom was a rule? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036901)

Nintendo and others are free to engage the free market from reputable suppliers without forcing them to comply with some third party's made-up scheme. Some choose to comply but that also is a choice. Not taking affirmative effort to avoid "conflict minerals", a term made up out of thin air to persue somebody's private agenda, is both legal and ethical.

I would be curious how much of the funding of the wars is is "conflict minerals" and how much is misappropriation of aid and how much is covert support from this country or that. On the topic of other countries they buy a whole bunch more "conflict minerals" than Nintendo ever imagined, and most do so overtly and some with actual intent.

JJ

Fund away (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#41036909)

Fund away, as long as I get to play my video games.

Why should business care? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036931)

So long as it's legal to use these minerals. Why should a business give a damm about anything else?

Leave the legal/moral/political areas to the goverments/people. If they rule it illegal. Then a business has to comply.

Or if people care enough the bad PR might hurt a company. But i really don't see that happening anytime soon.
IE conflict diamonds are forever too.

Re:Why should business care? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037219)

So long as it's legal to use these minerals. Why should a business give a damm about anything else?

Leave the legal/moral/political areas to the goverments/people. If they rule it illegal. Then a business has to comply.

Or if people care enough the bad PR might hurt a company. But i really don't see that happening anytime soon. IE conflict diamonds are forever too.

Just because something is legal, does not mean it is moral to do. Some people and the companies they run have morals. If more people had morals, then we could have a lot less laws. I know that is a lot to hope for, but people like you who think that if something is legal then they should do it, no matter what it does to man kind, does not help to have a more free society.

Re:Why should business care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037371)

I want to live in a world where more people do the right thing, instead of the cheap thing. When the thugs in Africa can't do business in the global marketplace because of their tactics, either they will have to change or fear a revolution from within their country.

This is bullshit (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | about 2 years ago | (#41036933)

Conflict minerals include gold and tin! This is a misguided group misled by the diamond cartel's success in characterising non-cartel diamonds as' conflict' diamonds. Is there a clear answer on whether it is better to trade or not trade with conflict torn states? I don't think so. Is there a way to tailor trade for better outcomes for those states? I don't know, but I'm interested in knowing. I'm not interested in this group.

ExxonMobile (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41036937)

Unless oil is exempt from consideration as a conflict mineral.

The US, Japan and South Africa's Apartheid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036939)

Let us not forget...during the South African Apartheid days...the US banned some metals being imported from South Africa...so, some Japanese companies turned around...bought the minerals from South Africa...and resold them to American comapanies...at GREAT profits. The only companies hurt by "the ban" were American workers and American companies...so much for "soical policy" :-(

Next Story's Follow-up Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41036973)

Nintendo > Enough Report

American companies respond, but not Japanese? (1)

topham (32406) | about 2 years ago | (#41037123)

Is it really a surprise that the American companies responded and a Japanese company didn't? You think perhaps there are cultural issues involves in choosing to respond or not?

Re:American companies respond, but not Japanese? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037227)

Understand who is making these surveys and then you might learn a thing or two about the sheer bias of this project.

Your 'box' is an electronic 'slave'. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037283)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you wouldn't notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] http://www.stallman.org/ [stallman.org]

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

##

Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

There's thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware?
Audited your graphics card for malware?
Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

* AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
* Network card rootkit(s)
* BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

* Know your router's firmware may easily be replaced on a hacker's whim?
* Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
* Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
* Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
* Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
* Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
* Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
* Search out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
* Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either don't need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.

#

I'm more concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security:

http://www.biosbits.org/ [biosbits.org]

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.

#

"Disconnect your PC from the internet and don't add anything you didn't create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies don't shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.

Google:

subversion hack:
tagmeme(dot)com/subhack/

network card rootkits and trojans
pci rootkits
packet radio
xmit "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"
forums(dot)qrz(dot)com

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, I've personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didn't find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.

#
eof

Re:Your 'box' is an electronic 'slave'. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037305)

suicide is the only option.

Re:Your 'box' is an electronic 'slave'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037775)

misdirected sensitivity is siren song of the beta male. tough love, champ. tough love.

A old game with a new name (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41037625)

So it's a protection racket? Pay up and do what we say or we will tell people you fund gorilla warfare|use conflict diamonds|exploit third world children|eat foie gras. This is what the politically correct future holds, idiots telling other idiots what to do, until we're all tied up in a big ball of nothingness - not allowed to do or say anything at all because of whatever flavor of the day topic. If you put gas in your damned car or turn on hour house lights, you are funding conflict, through fossil fuels. Because the fossil fuel producing nations are well known for sponsoring uprisings all over africa and the middle east. Hell if you are American or buy American, you are funding conflict - after all this country has been involved nay started, a lot of wars in the past few decades... Where does it stop?

I could post anonymously but, meh [whicdn.com]

Re:A old game with a new name (3, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41037873)

You make some interesting points, and it comes back to the inter-connected world economy. Most people remember the "Buy American" mantra in the 70's and 80's... because Detroit was taking it in the shorts from Japanese car companies. That translated into later "Buy American" campaigns where Wal Mart and other retailers were being targeted for using cheap Chinese goods instead of more expensive American goods. Now we have "conflict minerals" and "conflict diamonds" etc.. that no matter what you buy or who you buy from, at some point there is a distinct possibility that those minerals used in the components of your electronics came from war-torn regions.

The problem exists in that people do a great deal of posturing and hand-wringing (even on /.), but it amounts to a tempest in a teapot. Most people would not give up their iPhone or 3D LCD television if it really came down to it, yet like celebrities trying to guilt people into donating to charity, it seems people have no shortage of puritanical guilt to spread around to "everybody else."

The key here is not that the minerals are going to fund conflicts in the Congo. The key is what can be done to prevent the conflicts, but more importantly, what can be done to encourage the Congo to end the senseless civil wars. My guess is there isn't any quick-fix and the boycott of "conflict minerals" will not stem the tide of bloodshed.

Should we encourage companies to avoid using these minerals when they can? Sure. But we should never look down our sanctimonious noses at those who don't "have our moral superiority" and claim how well we're doing to stop using these minerals as we type from our computers that contain mostly "conflict minerals" in some form or another.

Political correctness, as you correctly mentioned, was just the tip of the iceberg. It's nothing more than a bunch of busybodies that want to inform you and I how to say something, what words to use, and what we can and cannot "morally" use (for food or whatever cause du jour comes up on the news.) I frankly don't give a shit. I boycott hollywood, the RIAA and Microsoft. If someone wants to know why, I tell them. Otherwise I simply do my bit and move on. (Oh and Disney fucking sucks and should be imploded and its grisly parts be shot from a rocket into the sun.)

Typical Shitdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037635)

I knew that once I clicked on the link to read the comments that the fucktarded shitdot sheeple would side with Pretendo. If this would have been Sony or Microsoft (Or as the fucktarded shitdot sheeple would like to call them "M$ and $ony") the same fucktarded shitdot sheeple would be crying fowl and wanting the governments of the world to dismantle them. Of course the fucktarded shitdot sheeple are nothing more thanb a bunch of communist loving fucktards who should go and collectively slit their fucking wrists.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY
OR WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED
MOD POINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE OR BETTER
YET GO SLIT YOUR FUCKING WRISTS
FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE

And the problem with communism is what exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037729)

I can give you all sort of problems that are both directly and indirectly associated and caused by capitalism. But since you are saying bullshit about communism it is clearly obvious that you are a fucktarded USian. Which will mean you will simply plug your ears and continue to use more propaganda against communism. NO religious freedom? The capitalist US doen't have that now. The same goes with any other freedoms. Just continue to follow your capitalist overlords fucktard. LMFAO

Sincerely,

Signed : The Rest of the World

Your problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41037975)

I think your problem has less to do with the world and more to do with your brain chemistry. You seem a wee bit insane.

Not to go into length, but Slashdot is a collective of many different kinds of thinkers with many different political view points ranging a broad spectrum. Painting them all with the same brush as though everybody here carries the same opinions and then throwing livid condemnation at the board as though it was the single, make-believe entity you have decided to hate is indicative of an unbalanced, shallow thinker.

Re:Your problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41038773)

Not to be picky, but browsing the comments, his claims seem to be accurate regarding comunist loving fucktards overwhelming support of an indefensible position. Furthermore, his suggestion, was not directed at some pseudo-political orginazation. Rather, specifically he suggested each of you socialist drones individually cut your own fucking wrists. While two are more being present to assist each other might be practiÃle, any more than that would be misconstrued by the rest as some type pf lenninist rally. Please bleed out in the privacy of your own commune

The company name sets the tone of discussion (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41037903)

If this report were exactly as it is now, excepting that the company in question was Apple or Microsoft - I am pretty certain the prevailing tone of these comments would be quite different.

wut (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41038177)

Da fuq is a conflict mineral? Are those the gold coins I have to jump over a piranha plant to get?

It's "Scientific" Mining! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41038595)

... to, you know, provide a bad example to measure everyone else against.

On behalf of all the reasonable people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41038607)

I would like to invite the Center for American Progress to fuck off. Thank you.

Blood Wiis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41039199)

Not just for UTIs anymore!

corporate pussies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41040337)

So basically they're saying Nintendo was the only company that had the stones to tell them to fuck off?

Go Nintendo.

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