China Tech Threat has discovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the South Carolina State government has spent $4 million on risky Lenovo equipment in the last three years. This discovery follows our reporting on New Mexico‘s and Louisiana‘s state agencies potentially allowing foreign data transfer through the procurement of Chinese government-owned Lenovo and Lexmark products. The use of banned this U.S. military and intelligence agency-banned technology vendors endangers South Carolina’s personal and financial information.
Link to our South Carolina FOIA report: https://chinatechthreat.com/sc/
The South Carolina departments that have bought this dangerous equipment handle the personal information of millions of citizens, putting them at risk of data theft by the Chinese government. For example, The Department of Corrections, which handles the processing and detainment of criminals in the state, has spent $46,757.74 on Lenovo equipment. The Department of Revenue, tasked with enforcing tax law and processing personal income information, has spent $1,547,615.47 with Lenovo. Even the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the second highest elected official in the state, has spent $38,442.71 on Lenovo products.
See here for the full summary of purchases made by South Carolina.
State procurement officers have not been doing their due diligence and protecting the personal information of South Carolina citizens through the purchasing of these products. This includes Division Director of Procurement Services Delbert Singleton and Chief Information Officer Keith Osman. Since these officials are not in the public eye, it is imperative that South Carolina’s congressional delegation puts pressure on them to end these contracts.
Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have both taken action to fight Chinese government theft of technologies and IP. Representative Jeff Duncan has commented in the past that foreign data transfers “have woefully become the Chinese Communist Party’s new normal, and it’s time that Congress started pushing back.” They can push back by ensuring that Lenovo and Lexmark products are no longer used by state agencies.