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The U.S. government wants to save Christmas from a bot invasion

Christmas shopping bots // Illustration by Kate Walker

The U.S. government wants to save Christmas from a bot invasion

The Future. Congress is pushing an updated anti-bots act to save Christmas from the use of check-out bots by bulk buyers and resellers, who gin up prices on normal folks. But, the situation is complicated by the fact that normal folks are now the ones using bots to score holiday gifts… meaning it’ll be up to retailers this season to fight back if they hope to keep supply moving normally.

Gifts from the Grinch
The Senate is trying to “stop Cyber Grinch greed from ruining kids’ holidays.”

  • Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the “Stop Grinch Bots Act.”
  • It aims to stop bots, aka “cyber Grinches,” from buying up popular items like sneakers and toys during the holiday shopping rush.
  • An identical bill was also introduced in the House.

Senator Blumenthal said of the bill: “New tools are needed to block cyber scammers who snap up supplies of popular toys and resell them at astronomical prices. Price gouging hot toys by Grinch bots should have zero tolerance.”

Deprogram demand
The cyber Grinch bill may be too little, too late to make an impact this holiday season. Analysts already report that bot-use was at an all-time high during Black Friday. This bill probably won’t even get voted on until 2022 at the earliest.

In the meantime, your aunt, cousin, and everyone you know is turning to bots to help them score hot items. New services like SlapX are available as monthly subscriptions and are already reducing technological barriers to using bots. By next Christmas, using bots may (unfortunately) be the only way to shop.