WASHINGTON— In response to U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) re-introducing the Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce (SHOP SAFE) Act, Becca Trate, policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, issued the following statement:
Provisions in the SHOP SAFE Act would make online shopping more of a hassle without even bolstering safety in e-commerce. American consumers opt to shop online due to the convenience, selection, savings, and safety. However, the SHOP SAFE Act would create additional barriers for sellers and platforms, ultimately reducing consumers’ options for online shopping, without providing any new or meaningful protections for consumers.
Protections outlined in the SHOP SAFE Act already exist. The INFORM Act, which went into effect earlier this year, increased transparency on platforms by helping to verify the identities of high-volume sellers. In addition to increasing transparency and communication between online marketplaces, law enforcement agencies, and retailers, the law also empowers consumers to exercise caution and report suspicious sellers and activity.
Instead of creating liability for platforms, Congress should work with industry leaders to help craft best practices for addressing counterfeit products online. To that end, Congress should direct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to establish a public-private partnership between law enforcement, online marketplaces, and brand sellers to create a shared data repository, develop industry standards, and conduct research on proactive measures to identify and disrupt counterfeiter networks.
For more on this issue, see:
- Becca Trate and Daniel Castro, “Best Practices to Combat Online Sale of Counterfeits in the EU and US” (Center for Data Innovation, 2022)
- Becca Trate, “Demonizing Data Collection Is the Wrong Way to Address Legitimate Concerns About Chinese E-commerce Apps” (Center for Data Innovation, 2023)
- Sujai Shivakumar, “How Data-Sharing Partnerships Can Thwart Counterfeits on Online Marketplaces” (Center for Data Innovation, 2021)