Counterfeit electronics briefing touches on e-scrap exports

Counterfeit electronics briefing touches on e-scrap exports

By Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

July 17, 2014

During a Congressional briefing this week in Washington, D.C., a panel of technology experts expressed support for the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA).

The session was held to discuss the problem of counterfeit electronics compromising American defense equipment, and according to a press release from the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), the three panelists participating urged Congress to take steps to ensure more end-of-life electronics are processed domestically.

RERA, a piece of legislation that has twice been introduced to Congress but has never made its way to a vote, aims to significantly limit the export of e-scrap. CAER has been the biggest industry supporter of the bill, and it has gained the support of more than 130 e-scrap firms.

"E-waste from the U.S. and other countries provides the feedstock for electronics counterfeiters in China, and it creates a serious product integrity issue," said panelist Henry Livingston of BAE Systems Electronic Systems, which produces electronic components for commercial and military clients.

The other two panelists were Tom Sharpe of electronics distributor SMT Corporation and Jim Burger, partner at the Thomas Coburn LLP law firm and a specialist on digital technology policy issues.

The briefing was organized by the office Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island as part of a governmental effort to reduce the risk of counterfeit electronics ending up in systems employed by the U.S. defense industry. According to a CAER spokesperson, the briefing was held at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill and staff members from the offices of roughly 25 senators and representatives were present. EPA staffers were also on hand.

Experts in the area of technology and security have said many counterfeit electronics are derived from recovered end-of-life electronics that are reconfigured by counterfeiters so that the components look new. According to the CAER press release, counterfeit parts have "flooded the supply chains of defense contractors in recent years."

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