Compliance Management, Threat Management, Government Regulations, Network Security

Proposed law would outlaw ‘Grinch bots’ that snatch up toys for resale

  • 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.

Bradley Barth

As director of community content at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for SC Media online conferences and events, as well as video/multimedia projects. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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