Lethal IT

MiYeon Kim got five days of sick leave after doctors found a tumor in her uterus, which resulted in a miscarriage. She had worked as a product-tester for over 15 years. Today she is trying to get pregnant again as she recovers after multiple cancer treatments.

Every year, the Danish state and local governments procure for more than 1.4 billion DKK on equipment for our schools and hospitals from IT-giants who produce computers, tablets and mobile phones under conditions, which have lethal consequences for workers, violates their rights and limits their freedom of unionization.

MiYeon Kim’s experience is not an isolated case. IT production involves the use of more than 500 dangerous chemicals, several of which have been proven to increase the risk of cancer. In recent years, hundreds of IT-workers in South Korea have been diagnosed with leukemia and multiple sclerosis. However, leading IT giants do not recognize the relationship between the use of chemicals in their factories and cancer.

Only few IT-workers have received compensation to cover their medical expenses.

DanWatch’s new report ‘Winds of Change’ documents the unethical and deadly conditions thousands of IT workers work in.

‘Winds of Change’ is the second of three DanWatch reports, which focus on the IT-industry.

The report ‘IT workers still pay the price for cheap computers’ from 2013 showed the reality at DELL’s subcontractors’ factories in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsun. Here working hours of up to 74 hours a week, threats of fines for making mistakes, forced overtime and salaries that are well below the local minimum wage are part of everyday working conditions. Workers breathe in chemical fumes all day while assembling components for computers that end up on desks in Danish municipalities and government offices.


Production of Information Technology costs daily millions of workers in Asia their health and rights. DanWatch has investigated the violation of people's rights and the environment from extraction of minerals to the production of mobile phones and tablets and the elimination of IT, E-Waste.

InvestigationLethal IT

5. Oct 2015

Servants of Servers

Higher education institutions in Western Europe have spent 4.27 billion euros so far in 2015 on ICT hardware, software and services to secure quality education for millions of young Europeans. At the other end of the supply chain tens of thousands of Chinese students work as interns in the assembly lines of IT factories every summer producing for the world’s biggest brands. Many of them are forced into internships and cannot quit or they will not graduate.

NewsLethal IT

6. Jul 2017

Danwatch and IMS to develop new digital “clearing-house” platform with Google Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund

IMS and Danwatch, a Danish independent investigative media and research centre, have received a grant from Google to develop a new digital platform that links up local journalists in conflict zones with international media outlets, paving the way for their stories to reach a global audience

26. Jun 2017

Mass faintings afflict the women who sew our clothes

Clothing and shoes from brands like Bestseller, Nike, Puma, Asics, Vans and North Face are manufactured at textile factories in Cambodia, where garment workers faint by the hundreds every year. Doctors, experts and the women themselves blame exhaustion, malnutrition, overheating and panic.

30. Mar 2017

Activist receives death threats following Danwatch avocado investigation

The life of a Chilean activist was threatened last week as a result of his involvement in a Danwatch investigation into avocado production and water theft in Chile. “Absolutely reprehensible,” say supermarkets that have been buying avocados from Chile.

19. Mar 2017

Supermarket avocados take water from local communities

Avocado production in Chile is draining water resources to such a degree that local residents now lack water. In the area where most of Chile’s avocados are grown, a battle is being waged over water rights. At least one supermarket chain has indicated it will change its purchasing policy for avocados from this area.

15. Feb 2017

Rohingya testimony

Mass gang-rape, brutal beatings and killings – including of babies and young children. A new UN report documents horrifying assaults by Myanmar's security forces on the Muslim minority Rohingya in a sealed-off area in the northern Rakhine State. Danwatch photographer Shafiur Rahman has met some of the assaulted women who fled to Bangladesh.

31. Jan 2017

Europe’s Largest Pension Funds Heavily Invested in Illegal Israeli Settlements

Europe’s five largest pension funds have €7.5 billion invested in companies with business activities in and around illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. This is at odds with United Nations guidelines, clear warnings from 18 European countries, and undermines the two-state solution, experts warn.

31. Jan 2017

Companies with activities in or around illegal Israeli settlements

36 publicly traded companies with economic activities in or around settlements, checkpoints, the separation wall or involved in extraction of natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territories - with investments from the five largest European pension funds.

27. Oct 2016

Hydro boom sparks violent conflicts in Nepal

A state of emergency in Nepal has paved the way for green energy projects intended to relieve the country’s energy crisis. But following the approval of new hydroelectric power plants, conflicts have arisen between the government and local communities who feel their voices were not heard in the process, leading to several violent clashes between police and locals in 2016 alone.

13. Oct 2016

Maersk scraps ships at dangerous shipyards in India

Maersk has sent two ships to be recycled at a shipyard in India considered by experts to be dangerous. Cancer, mutilation and death caused by a lack of protective equipment threaten employees, according to occupational safety experts that have reviewed Danwatch’s documentation. Maersk concedes that there are problems.

3. Oct 2016

Google investors “deeply concerned” over human rights violations in Kenyan wind project

Google is preparing to acquire a large share in Kenya’s prestigious green-energy Lake Turkana Wind Power project, but the deal is mired in accusations of violations of indigenous peoples’ rights and a court case over illegal land acquisition. In a leaked letter obtained by Danwatch, Google investors say they are “deeply concerned”.