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Cybersecurity Legislation Seeks to Ban E-Waste to China

The bipartisan Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act introduced in the House of Representatives aims to keep used electronics “out of the hands of counterfeiters and data thieves.”

In an attempt to crack down on Chinese-made counterfeit electronics, Rep. Gene Green, D-TX, and Rep. Paul Cook, R-CA, introduced the Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) to the House of Representatives.

Under the SEERA, all untested, nonworking electronics would need to be recycled domestically, which would help keep used electronics “out of the hands of counterfeiters and data thieves,” according to a joint-release by Green and Cook.

The logic behind this bill is that counterfeiters find these discarded electronics, and copy, reproduce and sell them back to American consumers. This bill would stop the flow of broken and flawed electronics so they will not end up back in the hands of Americans.

“China regularly counterfeits electronics and puts these dangerous products, including critical military equipment, back into the market,” Cook said in the press release.

This is especially dangerous when it comes to the military. A 2012 Senate Armed Services Committee study found 1,800 cases of counterfeit, “bogus parts” in military technology.

“SEERA will ensure we’re not exporting electronic scrap materials that come back to us as counterfeit parts and undermine the reliability of technology essential to our national security,” Cook said.

Along with the protection from counterfeit goods, the bill would also incentivize domestic e-waste recycling businesses and create jobs.

“E-waste is the fast growing segment of our domestic waste stream,” Green said. “This problem will continue to grow unless Congress acts to ensure that electronic waste is recycled responsibly in the United States and [is] out of the hands of counterfeiters overseas.”

Ryan McCauley was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine from October 2016 through July 2017, and previously served as the publication's editorial assistant.
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