Congressional Action Needed to Protect National Security
Congressional action is needed to stop the flow of e-waste exports are closely linked to counterfeit microchips from China. According to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and experts in the defense and computer industries, these fake electronics threaten the reliability of a wide range of technologies:
Critical infrastructure such as telecommunications, power and transportation;
Defense systems such as jet fighters and missiles; and
Consumer products such as air bags in cars.
Counterfeiters get their feedstock of used computer parts from e-waste exported from the United States and other countries. They use harsh processes to make these parts look like new. But they are unreliable and prone to failure.
There are few limits on e-waste exports, which makes it easy for counterfeiters to get these essential raw materials. As a result, we are basically handing counterfeiters the feedstock they need to undermine our security.
While improving supply chains and detecting counterfeit microchips are critical, to date there has been little focus on attacking the problem at its source – by reducing the flow of raw material counterfeiters require. Congress must pass legislation that stops the flow of non-working, untested e-waste from the United States and requires domestic recycling. Exports of working, used equipment would not be restricted and are expected to grow.