Citing study data from the Senate Armed Services Committee pertaining to counterfeit electronics making their way to the U.S. from China, John Shegerian, chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), a recycler of electronic waste, called counterfeit electronics the latest threat to personal, professional and government safety and security.
Counterfeit technology from China has been discovered at all levels – ranging from household consumer electronics to cases of advanced missile systems, helicopters, submarines and more.
Shegerian pointed in particular to an Armed Services Committee report, which found “much of the material used to make counterfeit electronic parts is electronic waste, or e-waste, shipped from the United States and the rest of the world to China,” and to observations by Tom Sharpe, vice president of SMT Corp. and author of The Hill editorial. Sharpe wrote that “…unethical e-scrap companies and brokers here in the U.S. may promise responsible recycling – then ship broken computers to China in huge volumes. Our discarded, non-working electronics are a cheap source of raw materials. It is a very lucrative trade for the bad guys.”
“Already concerned with cybercrime and hacking, we are now faced with counterfeit electronics – a new layer of unethical behavior that is having detrimental effects on our national security,” said Shegerian. “It’s not just about personal information and finances; it is also a risk to using poorly designed or improperly tested technological components, which can ultimately render many processes unsafe or vulnerable.”
Shegerian explained that government, as well as the private sector, must protect all hardware and devices with equal diligence, and that the responsible recycling of electronics is more important now than ever before.
“With current technological innovations, there is very fast turnover when it comes to computers, laptops and other electronic devices,” Shegerian added. “Responsibly recycling all old and unwanted items – government or otherwise – here in the United States, is crucial. 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.”
Shegerian also noted ERI currently provides the only nationwide solution offering 100 percent guaranteed data destruction for consumer electronics devices and e-waste.