‘Cyber Grinches’ snatching toys should be stopped, US lawmakers say


Star Wars toy accessories at a store in Houston, Texas. Blumenthal and Schumer want to crack down on ‘cyber Grinches’ using bots to quickly snap up entire inventories of popular holiday toys to resell them at higher prices. Their actions could make some of the items almost impossible to buy, the politicians say, exacerbating shortages sparked by supply chain woes. — AFP

A group of Democrats wants to stop the Grinch from stealing Christmas. Except this time around the spoilsport they’re targeting is not a furry green creature, but a robot.

US lawmakers including Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chuck Schumer introduced a bill to crack down on “cyber Grinches” using bots to quickly snap up entire inventories of popular holiday toys and resell them at higher prices. Their actions could make some of the items almost impossible to buy, the politicians say, exacerbating shortages sparked by supply chain woes.

“This bill seeks to stop Cyber Grinch greed from ruining kids’ holidays,” Blumenthal says in a statement. “New tools are needed to block cyber scammers who snap up supplies of popular toys and resell them at astronomic prices. Price gouging hot toys by Grinch bots should have zero tolerance.”

The legislation, also introduced in the House of Representatives, would apply to e-commerce sites to ban bots from bypassing security measures on online retail portals. However, with Congress facing urgent deadlines to avoid a federal government shutdown and a debt limit default, it’s unclear the bill will move in time to save Christmas. – Bloomberg

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