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Countering counterfeits

Counterfeit components are estimated to cost the UK electronics sector as much as £1billion every year.

But a new website is attempting to combat the problem by encouraging visitors to 'out' bogus chips.
For years, online forums were often associated with the 'geekier' elements of society, but sites such as Facebook and Twitter have revolutionised the way in which millions of people interact - both socially and professionally.

Now the UK Electronics Alliance (UKEA) is addressing the problem of counterfeiting and encouraging open debate via social forums. It's a testament to the potential of this communication medium. Users can not only share information on suspect components, but upload photographs which are added to an ever expanding database. Other users across the supply chain can, in turn, add further information and also comment on forum entries.

While many people view community sites as an exercise in procrastination, by embracing this format and bringing the industry together, UKEA's site could have a dramatic effect across the electronics sector. An online outlet backed by top trade associations could not only provide a resource to establish suspect counterfeits, but also help to drive them out of the supply network.

Chris Shaw

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