ID-2 Controversy

The Polaroid ID-2 System was implicated in the debates around Polaroid’s dealings with the apartheid regime in South Africa. Here we examine the claims made of it.

Illustration from a Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement pamphlet (source)

Polaroid did admit that about 20% of the film they sold in South Africa ended up used for the passbooks, a tool of oppression in South Africa. See Pass Laws

But according to Polaroid in 1971, only sixty-five systems were sold to South Africa before sales were stopped, and none of those systems were sold to government agencies.

However the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement countered that sales were still going on through indirect channels.

Additionally, Polaroid lied from 1971 to 1978, claiming that they had ceased supplying materials to the regime, when in fact there was an elaborate shell game which allowed them to sell through a third party.


“sixty-five systems”, “20% of film”: see Widmer, 1970 for UPI. paid

Source: ID-2 Controversy


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