A new invoice would ensure that online sellers and app stores post the countries of origin of their products

The Florida senator, Rick Scott, has introduced a bill that gives online retailers – including app stores – a prominent list of the country of origin of each product. According to Scott, it partly addresses recent controversies about the privacy of the Russia-based photo app FaceApp. It is also believed to push consumers away from certain foreign goods. "There are countries around the world, such as China, that are trying to compete with America," Scott said in a statement. "By buying products made by our opponents, we send them money without thinking."

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The Promoting Responsibility in Markets and E-Retailers Act of 2019, abbreviated as the PRIME Act, would apply to "any internet website or any other online platform where products are sold." (The name suggests that it is primarily aimed at Amazon.) Sites sell a product, the seller must provide details about the country of origin, and the retailer must mention that country "in a striking way and in the same language as on the rest of the platform is used. "

One section is specifically aimed at app stores that should provide slightly more information. They must state the nationality of the app developer, the nationality of the publisher and the nationality of any parent companies. This information would be self-reported, but regulators could penalize app makers who provide false information.

With the exception of that app store policy, the PRIME Act is extended existing customs rules about marking the country of origin of a product. An offline buyer is likely to find a "Made in China" sticker or label on a product, but an online buyer may not. The Federal Trade Commission would have the power to punish offenders, and if adopted, the law would come into force after six months.

The existing system is not watertight. Companies have fraudulently labeled their products as & # 39; Made in the USA & # 39; and products often pass many countries during assembly. And the biggest problem with FaceApp is not the Russian origin; many people are more concerned about the vague privacy policy or the prospect that photos will be stored remotely. Where companies store data is important, especially if that data contains details about the health, sexuality or other sensitive information of users. But that is not covered by this bill. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that an invoice treats apps in the same way as physical products – and it is addressing growing concerns about data collection and digital security.

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