Are agencies buying counterfeit technology?

Counterfeit information technology products lead to financial losses for government agencies and industry and also pose a threat to national security, according to a Federal Register notice from the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council.

The councils are seeking comments from government and industry on whether the Federal Acquisition Regulation should be revised to include a requirement that contractors selling computer hardware and software ensure that their products are authentic. The notice was posted today.

The councils are also interested in comments regarding contractor liability if IT products sold to the government are not authentic. Comments were also requested on whether contractors who are resellers or distributors of computer hardware and software should represent to customers that resellers are authorized by the original equipment manufacturer.

The councils also want to know if the potential new rules should be extended to other items purchased by the government.

Several studies show that counterfeit products have a higher failure rate than genuine equipment, and often fail upon installation, or weeks or months after installation, according to the notice.

When a product fails national security and safety are threatened because the entire systems in which they are embedded may also fail.

The public and industry also were invited to offer suggestions on other ways to limit the risk to the government from acquiring counterfeit IT products.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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