Technology and the Internet has afforded counterfeiting, one of the oldest crimes in history, to become a thriving multi-billion dollar criminal activity and one of the most profitable crimes of the 21st century. This illegal trade is no longer restricted to knock-offs being sold on street corners or markets. The Internet is the new marketplace for counterfeiters. Websites and social media pages offering counterfeit goods, sometimes visually identical to the genuine product are re-appearing as quickly as they are taken down.
Counterfeiters do not comply with health and safety regulations, contrary to the manufacturers of genuine products. Consumers have no recourse in finding out whether the surprisingly discounted product they purchase on the Internet meets the requisite safety requirements.
Criminals view the production and sale of counterfeit products as a low risk yet lucrative business model. Consumer health and safety standards are not even remotely considered and we have all read the tragic headlines when innocent consumers have died from using or ingesting a counterfeit product.
Asia Digital Alliance (ADA) advocates for a safe and accessible Internet environment. Ethical Internet businesses should put effective safeguards in place to protect consumers (especially young consumers) from such counterfeit sites and social media pages, make them aware of the online risks they may face, and encourage them to develop smarter browsing habits.