July 26, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) highlighted the rise of counterfeit electronic parts from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ending up in critical defense systems in the United States.
“This is an issue the Defense Department has long identified as presenting a legitimate threat to our nation’s readiness,” Ricketts said. “Much of the material used in counterfeit electronic parts is e-waste shipped from the United States – from the rest of the world – to China. The e-waste goes through a process known as ‘black topping’ where parts are made to look like brand new to the naked eye. Then these products are resold on the marketplace. How do counterfeit parts make it into advanced U.S. missile systems and other military equipment undetected?”
Ricketts also called attention to the data privacy risks posed by shipping e-waste overseas. Americans discard more than 350,000 cell phones and 120,000 laptops daily, often without properly wiping their personal data.
“When it comes to U.S. citizens and we’re talking about recycling their electronics – the privacy,” Ricketts continued. “There’s literally hundreds of thousands of devices that get recycled every year and there’s little accountability or tracking with regard to where they go and what’s happening.”
Ricketts’ comments came during a Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing entitled “Improving Capacity for Critical Mineral Recovery Through Electronic Waste Recycling and Reuse.”
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