• Far beyond Whoville, in the U.S., our nation,
  • The House and the Senate introduced legislation.
  • The bill makes illegal the use of “Grinch bots”
  • To buy up all the toys, disappointing young tots.

Okay, enough with the Suessing… On Nov. 16, House Rep. Paul Tonko D, N.Y., submitted H. R. 7160, aka the “Stopping Grinch Bots Act of 2018.” The proposed legislation would make it unlawful for a person to defeat or sidestep website security measures or access control systems designed to enforce purchasing limits on online merchandise. It also would make it illegal to knowingly resell any inventory obtained through such circumvention.

The bill’s intention is to stop individuals from using bots to buy popular toys in bulk and then sell them in the secondary market at a higher markup. H. R. 7160 states that such activity would be considered an unfair or deceptive practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act. That act already uses similar language to stop unfair practices related to event ticket purchasing.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has reported that Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a parallel bill in the Senate. The goal is the same: to protect online consumers, while shrinking the wallets of Grinchy botmasters to two sizes too small.