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In a global technology downturn, there is one area where shippers of high-tech goods are seeing no slackening of demand. Just a few months ago, a man armed with nothing more than a van and phony shipping documents drove away from Scotland's Prestwick International Airport with $700,000 in computer parts. It was the latest sign that even if the value of technology goods has diminished on the retail market, they remain highly prized on less scrupulous markets, where the small size and relatively strong worth around the world make them a steady, ready target for theft.
It's an ongoing problem that technology companies have taken it upon themselves to address through their cooperative Technology Asset Protection Association. Formed in 1997 at the height of the high-tech boom, TAPA has been working on common standards and supply chain certification in a program that is gaining new attention in a world where cargo security has greater urgency than ever.
With logistics managers and everyone else in the supply chain focused on security, TAPA's standards may carry lessons beyond just protection of computer chips, something TAPA recognizes as it starts to reach out to other industries.
"No one company had enough leverage to invest in capital to deter cargo crimes and address the gaps but together we do," said Dan Purtell, who serves as Americas investigation manager for TAPA.
Started by Compaq, Intel and Sun Microsystems in …