China Tech Threat has continued to uncover taxpayer funds through FOIA requests that have been used to purchase Chinese government-owned products. The state government of Kentucky has spent $1,827,362.95 on Lenovo products in recent years, despite Lenovo’s equipment being banned by U.S. military and intelligence agencies because of the control that the Chinese government has over all users’ data. This follows our recent reporting on similar purchases by Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and other states.
Link to our Kentucky FOIA report: https://chinatechthreat.com/ky/
The Kentucky state agencies using this banned equipment handle the private data and information of millions of Kentuckians that might be sent to the Chinese government. For example, the Department of Education, with records of potentially hundreds of thousands of students in their system, spent $1,020,120.49 on Lenovo equipment. The Commonwealth Office of Technology, in charge of “enabling a proficient digital government supportive of a 21st century economy,” has spent $709,859.85 on Lenovo equipment.
See here for the full summary of purchases made by Kentucky.
What can be done about these risky purchases? Certain state officials that handle procurement, including Joan Graham, head of the Office of Procurement Services, Stacy Blank, director of the Division of Technology Services Procurement, and Ruth Day, Chief Information Officer, are all able to take action. Additionally, congressional leaders representing Kentucky have spoken out on China technology in the past, including Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. James Comer, and Rep. Andy Barr. Hopefully both federal and state leaders can work together to take action and protect the data privacy of Kentuckians.