Back in June, we noted that the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobbying group representing big store retailers was pushing Congress
to start regulating online auction sites, claiming that they were experiencing a huge crimewave from thieves who would resell the goods on sites like eBay. Reader crystalattice
points out that some Congressional Reps have put forth just such a piece of legislation
, and now the press is parroting the claims that this huge crimewave exists, when the evidence
suggests exactly the opposite. Shoplifting is actually decreasing, while insiders (employees) stealing goods is on the rise. The problem is often that stores simply don't police themselves well.
So, this isn't at all about stopping this supposed crimewave. It's a way for offline retailers to try to hurt the competition by adding some ridiculous liability to them -- somehow making them liable for the actions of users selling "stolen" goods on their sites. This is a blatant anti-competitive move that is using dubious claims to support the case. Hopefully the press and other politicians won't fall for it.