On Thursday February 23rd China Tech Threat will release an update to our March 2020 paper detailing U.S. state government contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to buy products from Lenovo and Lexmark, which are Chinese government-owned technology companies restricted by U.S. defense and intelligence agencies, as noted in an August 2019 Pentagon report.
We will provide revised data detailing purchases from state agencies in approximately half of U.S. states. Entities such as various states’ Board of Fingerprinting, State Police, Department of Elections, State Supreme Court, Department of Public Safety, the Legislature, the Military Division, and the National Guard Armory have all purchased dangerous Chinese technology. (We plan to release the remaining states on a rolling basis this spring.)
Our report demonstrates that well before the People’s Republic of China launched balloons over the United States, it already had ample opportunity to access our state networks through unsecure technology. Unsurprisingly, a 2022 study shows that already six states have been hacked by Chinese government-backed hackers. But China may not need to resort to illegal cyberbreaches to obtain what they seek. Under China’s 2017 Intelligence Law, Chinese companies are required to hand over data to Beijing if asked. This makes Lexmark and Lenovo products all the more dangerous.
Yet there is cause for optimism. Our March 2020 study found that not a single U.S. state was restricting contracts with Chinese-owned or operated tech manufactures. Today, five states have laws or regulations governing state contracts, with nearly a dozen more states currently considering legislation. In sum, states have acknowledged the seriousness of this problem and are pursuing solutions – and this paper will give a review and assessment of those efforts.
This report also spotlights the presence of state contracts with two additional Chinese companies which were not covered in that paper – surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision and drone aircraft manufacturer DJI. A research report with a state-by-state analysis of DJI and Hikvision will come later this year.
Check back soon for details on how to join the online event on Thursday February 23rd.
China Tech Threat will continue to monitor U.S. states for their contracts with dangerous Chinese tech companies and urge them to bring those contracts to an end.