Bill A5384 Will Protect New Jersey From Theft From China Tech

In January, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a cybersecurity directive to prohibit the use of technology vendors and software products and services that present an unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state. Currently, Lexmark and Lenovo are not prohibited by this directive, but the $1,121,777 New Jersey has spent on dangerous technology from these Chinese-owned manufacturers serves as reason to also prohibit them under the directive. 

China Tech Threat discovered in recent research that between 2018 and 2023, New Jersey has spent $1,121,777 on Lexmark and Lenovo technologies already restricted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connections to the Chinese government and military. Our fact sheet reveals that the New Jersey agencies that purchased this technology include the State Legislature, the Department of State, and the Judiciary Department. And, like the other entities on the state’s prohibited list, China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law obligates Lexmark and Lenovo to cooperate with any Chinese government directive to hand over information in their possession. This makes New Jersey’s sensitive legislative, judicial, and administrative information vulnerable to Chinese surveillance. (Read more about Lexmark, Lenovo and three other dangerous Chinese government-owned tech manufacturers in our February briefing paper.) 

Thankfully, Assemblyman Parker Space understands the risks posed by this technology. His bill, A5384, prohibits technology contracts with Chinese government-owned or affiliated companies. With this legislation, Assemblyman Space joins legislators in over a dozen states taking action to ban state agencies from purchasing and deploying Chinese technology to prevent the exposure of government and citizens’ sensitive information to the Chinese government, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem who signed SB 189 into law in March, Idaho Governor Brad Little who signed HB 294 at the beginning of April, and Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders who also signed  HB 1789 into law this month.

Bill A5384 paired with Gov. Murphy’s cybersecurity directive puts New Jersey on the right track toward securing its sensitive data and residents’ personal information from Chinese surveillance. In 272 days left in session, CTT will continue to monitor Assemblyman Space’s legislation and support other efforts to mitigate the security threats posed by this risky technology.