US government to ban purchase of used electronics

The US General Services Administration (GSA) says it will stop buying refurbished and used IT equipment to guard against counterfeiting and espionage.

The federal government says it will retire Special Item Number (SIN) 132-9 - Purchase of Used or Refurbished Equipment – to “mitigate supply chain vulnerabilities” as well as reduce the use of outdated IT equipment that doesn’t conform to current standards.

No new contracts for the supply of used and refurbished equipment will be signed after October 1, and there will be a complete ban by the middle of 2024. The GSA says it acquired around $15m-worth of used and refurbished equipment in fiscal 2018.

The move comes after President Trump issued a memorandum in April to May to combat trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods, as well as an executive order in May that aims to limit the risk that US infrastructure can be compromised by people working for a “foreign adversary.”

The Association of Service and Computer Dealers International and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers (ASCDINATD), represents around 290 companies active in the supply of second-hand equipment that it says will be damaged by the decision.

It has lobbied against the retirement, arguing that “used or refurbished does not mean counterfeit.”

In comments to the GSA, it said: “Commercial entities, not‐for‐profit institutions and public agencies have saved billions of dollars over the past decades by taking advantage of the simple fact that the useful life of technology equipment goes far beyond the programmed obsolescence designed by the original manufacturers of that equipment.”

It went on: “Used and refurbished technology equipment performs as well as new equipment and often allows users to avoid costly and disruptive software modifications necessary to adapt legacy programming to new generation equipment,” it added.

ASCDINATD members have put in place systems for determining if product they receive is counterfeit and can trace supply chains directly to the OEMs, according to the industry body.

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