Environmental groups expressed satisfaction that software giant Microsoft was fined a massive $230 million following an undercover investigation into the handling of items placed in recycling bins, located on millions of computer desktops.
The multi agency investigation, with the aid of computer fraud experts, revealed that photographs, video clips and Word documents were being digitally shipped to the Far East to be printed out and discarded there on massive landfill sites, many near children’s places of work.
Environmental activists have accused Microsoft of arrogance for misleading the public; ‘Users have been placing items diligently in these bins for years thinking they are saving the earth, when in fact the rubbish just gets piled up in a huge dump, it undermines efforts to encourage the public to recycle.’ Microsoft initially refused comment, claiming it to be an industry-accepted practice, but Apple revealed that they diligently separate and recycle all the files; reusing them in other products such as the iPhone and iPod.
Microsoft have since conceded that ‘there has been some breakdown in procedures’ and have announced that the latest updates for windows will see some changes. They will include compliance with the new Environmental Recycling laws, introducing different coloured bins depending on file type. However some critics have blasted this, maintaining that the change in waste bin disposal collection times from weekly to fortnightly, will simply cause discarded documents, pictures and audio files to pile up, and encourage the spread of viruses.’
oli b (with extra input from thackaray and malgor)