Flood of Counterfeit Microchips Underscores the Need for
the Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act
Unfortunately, much of the e-waste counterfeiters use comes from our own shores. Unlike other developed countries, the United States lacks a national policy on e-waste. As a result, much of our e-waste is shipped overseas for recycling in primitive conditions – and that’s where it becomes feedstock for counterfeiters.
E-waste exports have been a problem for many years. A report by the Senate Armed Services Committee highlighted how counterfeits had penetrated defense supply chains, raising serious concerns about the reliability of equipment used by our military personnel. And there are broader risks for average Americans. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, counterfeits "threaten not only military systems but also commercial transportation systems, medical devices and systems, and the computers and networks that run today’s financial markets and communications systems."
Recent coverage of the surge in counterfeits includes:• A Wall Street Journal report (July 15, 2021) highlighted the sale of counterfeit chips on the China-based Alibaba platform. “The number of websites we see popping up offering hard-to-find, allocated and obsolete parts is alarming,” said Kristal Snider of ERAI, which monitors counterfeit electronics. • “The harsh reality is that today, the authenticity of chips is often possible to guarantee,” reported Semiconductor Engineering (Aug. 6, 2021).• “As the predominantly pandemic-caused global chip shortage rolls on, businesses are now facing another challenge – component scams and bogus supply-chain claims,” TechRepublic reported (August 19, 2021).
How SEERA Addresses the ProblemThe U.S. needs to stop exporting e-waste that comes back to us in the form of counterfeit chips that undermine our security and our industry. The Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA – HR 3036) will restrict export of untested, non-working electronic scrap that too often ends up in the developing countries where it fuels counterfeiting and damages the environment. Learn more at AmericanErecycling.org.
About the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER)CAER is the voice of America’s emerging e-recycling industry on Capitol Hill. Our coalition includes more than 150 companies and supporting members operating more than 300 facilities in 37 states and Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the CAER website at americanerecycling.org