United States – Responsible recycling of electronics is more crucial now than ever before, insists John Shegerian, who sees counterfeit tech imports from China alongside regular e-scrap as the latest ‘threat’ to US safety and security.
‘Already concerned with cybercrime and hacking, we are now faced with counterfeit electronics – a new layer of unethical behaviour that is having detrimental effects on our national security,’ says the ceo of US firm Electronic Recyclers International. A great risk in using ‘poorly-designed or improperly-tested’ technological components is that they can ultimately render many processes ‘unsafe or vulnerable’, he explains.
‘Unfortunately, American citizens and businesses are unwittingly complicit in this illicit trade,’ writes Tom Sharpe, vice president of SMT Corp, in a recent ‘The Hill’ editorial. ‘Because of loopholes in our export policies, much of the e-scrap that counterfeiters use as feedstock comes from our shores.’
The counterfeiting of processes is constantly improving and so it has become ‘nearly impossible’ for even a trained eye to detect them without significant testing capabilities. Sharp notes that reworked components have contaminated virtually all applications, including the advanced missile systems of US government aircraft.
To date, efforts to prevent fake chips from getting into supply chains have had a limited impact. ‘While prevention and detection measures are important, we must also choke off a huge portion of the counterfeiters’ feedstock,’ Sharp insists. This means curbing the ‘massive’ e-waste exports from the USA.
Shegerian concludes: ‘Our safety, digital security, environment and the reliability and legitimacy of newly-made devices all rest in the balance of us recycling the right way.’