‘Con artists’ moving into Internet piracy, Hatch says

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Online piracy cost the American economy sales, jobs and income, Hatch said, though "the financial toll is very difficult to quantify.”

He compared online piracy to potential fraud under ObamaCare, which is set to begin providing healthcare subsidies next year without a strict verification system to check people’s eligibility.

"It's an open field for con artists if we don't do it right," he said, speaking about the healthcare exchanges set to launch on Oct. 1. "We have to make sure the American people don't get ripped off even more."

Hatch expressed concerns about the impact of piracy on the movie industry, noting the Disney recently spent $8 million in Utah to film “The Lone Ranger.”

"More piracy means more studios will have fewer resources to invest in local economies," Hatch said.

While voluntary programs with the private sector to stop piracy are making prorgess, "our work is far from done," Hatch said.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the co-chairman of the privacy caucus, agreed that the economic impact of piracy is likely high.

"While the financial toll may be unclear, we can safely bet that it's significant," Whitehouse said.