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How Congress’ Anti-Bots Bill Could Make Online Sneaker Shopping Easier

A new piece of legislation could make it easier for sneakerheads and purveyors of in-demand products to purchase hyped-up items.

The bill, known as the Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016, or the BOTS Act, aims to prohibit computer software that allows users to make automated purchases on ticketing websites. While the current bill focuses primarily on tickets, this sort of measure could have long-term implications that extend into other areas of e-commerce.

“This bill prohibits the sale of computer software that: (1) is primarily designed to circumvent technology that limits purchases made via an online ticket selling system, (2) has only a limited commercially significant purpose other than for such circumvention, or (3) is marketed to use for such circumvention,” reads the text of H.R. 5104. According to the bill, violations will be considered “unfair and deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act.”

The proliferation of automated computer bots is a problem that has long plagued e-commerce. In addition to online ticket scalping, bots have made it increasingly difficult for people to purchase sneakers such as Yeezys and Air Jordans. In September, Sneakernstuff co-founder and CEO Erik Fagerlind penned a lengthy Instagram post addressing the matter and revealed that the store’s website was able to block nearly 40,000 bots from making purchases.

Although the BOTS Act does not specifically mention e-commerce outside of ticketing, it could potentially serve as the groundwork for a more thorough ruling in the future. The BOTS Act was passed by the Senate on Nov. 30 and is now on its way to the desk of President Barack Obama after getting the approval of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

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