Gigantic Omnibus Bill Requires E-Commerce Companies to Verify ID of Sellers Making $5,000 in Revenue Annually
Towards the end of last year, a $1.7 trillion spending bill was passed by the United States Congress.
Naturally, fiscal conservatives were incensed by the passage of this bill.
In addition, proponents of online freedom and privacy have every reason to be worried about the passage of this monstrosity of a bill.
For one, it will bring the INFORM Consumers Act into effect which has the aim of regulating a sensitive portion of e-commerce hubs. Didi Rankovic of Reclaim the Net noted that this act delves “deep into and disclosing sellers’ personal data under some circumstances.”
In this case, the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act will mandate e-commerce companies to gather, verify, and disclose “certain information from high-volume, third-party sellers.”
If any of these third parties conduct 200 or more transactions with revenues of $5,000 or more during one year, platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook and others will have to obtain their bank account numbers, government issued ID, tax identification numbers, and contact information, per the proposal’s original language.
The bill outlines how online marketplaces will have to ensure that consumers have access to sellers’ names and contact information, which also includes unspecified data that is featured in product listings. For example, Rankovic noted that this consists of “sellers’ phone number and email and physical address.”
Sellers will allegedly be able to safeguard their phone number and address if they reach out to buyers by answering their customer support via the e-commerce platforms.
Amazon and other sites were initially against this bill and voiced their alleged concerns about sellers’ privacy. They also claimed that they would not be able to compete with brick-and-mortar venues.
Amazon, eBay, and Etsy eventually relented and backed the bill, due to the fact that the INFORM Act functions as a federal law, which takes precedence over any state laws.
The Federal Trade Commission will be in charge of enforcing the legislation, while e-commerce sites must grant consumers the ability to report activity they deem to be “suspicious” via online or phone.
The state’s natural propensity is to grow. All facets of human life are subject to regulation in these busybodies’ view. Online is one of the last spaces of human life where people can exercise freedom without having the government breathing down their necks. However, the DC class wants to make sure that the state’s nasty paws get all over the Internet. Champions of liberty should do everything possible to make sure that the state does not achieve this unholy goal.