China Tech Threat (CTT) released a memo to state policymakers offering four specific policy ideas to counter China threats at the state level. CTT has been closely tracking the state-federal tech threat disconnect, and warning that while federal agencies and the U.S. military have rightly taken action to restrict the use of tech makers with ownership ties to the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to the security risks they pose, those policies are not necessarily adopted at the state level.
The memo cites a March 2022 AP report on at least six state governments that were hacked by the Chinese government in the last year. CTT’s own report that found 40 states continue to use Chinese tech equipment by Lenovo and Lexmark, despite Pentagon warnings against using such equipment that is already restricted by numerous federal agencies due to the security threats they pose.
The four policies cite recent actions governors have already taken and offer a more general policy framework as a guide for state policymakers to better understand the threat and the types of solutions to address them. They include:
1. Restrict Chinese Government Owned Companies from State Purchase and Contracts
2. Restrict University Partnerships that Strengthen the Chinese Military
3. Growing and Strengthening the Cybersecurity Workforce
4. Cooperation Between Congress and States to Ensure Federal Agencies Enforce
Export Control Laws
One of the examples cites a bill Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently signed into law which prohibits Chinese Government owned or operated companies from providing tech products to state governments, universities and local school districts. In an interview, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Martin Momtahan said, “we have a $31 billion budget, we’re buying computers, we’re buying technology, but there is no state-side regulation on the purchasing of these kinds of devices.” You can watch Rep. Momtahan’s interview here.