Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Buycott - A Smartphone App Whose Time Has Definitely Come
Tired of unwittingly lining the pockets of the same oligarchs who would happily sell you and your democracy down the river? Wish you could tell just who was really behind the products lining your store shelves? Well, there's an App for that.
It's called Buycott, the handiwork of 26-year old freelance programer Ivan Pardo.
Pardo decided to create Buycott after hearing Congressional candidate Darcy Burner (D-Wash.) propose the idea of an app that allows consumers to see the corporations behind the products on supermarket shelves during her keynote speech at last year’s netroots nation. Beyond tracing the corporate family tree of everyday goods, Buycott also allows users to create and join campaigns that sort companies according to how their practices affect certain issues. For example, if you join the campaign “Demand GMO labeling,” you’ll be alerted when a product you’ve scanned is linked to one of 36 companies identified as having opposed the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.
When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you've joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.
Buycott can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App store and Android’s Google Play.
Apparently Buycott is still a bit buggy and won't work on all devices but it's an idea that has legs.