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Two Years Later: Operation in Our Sites and the Public Safety Imperative
When you think of who protects public safety, what comes to mind? Your mind probably conjures up images of police officers in blue uniforms or firefighters on trucks. But do you think of the countless agents- uniformed and plain clothes- at our borders or behind computer screens dedicated to making sure illicit products pushed by criminal organizations don’t make it into our homes?
This type of crime—intellectual property theft— is pervasive. Criminals who are selling knock-offs of clothing, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products as though they are genuine are naturally in the game of deception and are becoming increasingly sophisticated. When you put that criminal behind a computer screen, the ease of deception is compounded.
This is precisely why two years ago, the National IPR Center began Operation in Our Sites, which goes after the bad online actors who seek to rob U.S. consumers of their money and jeopardize their health with the lure of cheap, faked goods. These online thieves also undermine well-respected American brands and companies, who find themselves answering to confused customers who thought they purchased the real deal.
In just two years, the IPR Center has done a stellar and professional job at removing more than 800 of these bad actors from the online marketplace. Just this week, the IPR Center seized 70 websites selling hosts of counterfeit products (including baby cribs!) while also displaying Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, which reinforce the appearance of legitimacy provide authentication and secure financial information and passwords.
It’s clear that this isn’t just college kids enjoying their favorite entertainment. This is calculated, malicious behavior at the expense of consumers and businesses alike. It’s also not an easy job, so we thank the IPR Center and their partners at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Justice Department, and state and local enforcement agencies around the country for their excellent work in enforcing intellectual property for the sake of public safety and economic growth.