Georgia’s State Spending is at the center of the US-China Tech Conflict

Last week, The Washington Post reported that President Biden’s second big bill may be a China package to to counter China’s rising global power and proposes funding aimed at bolstering U.S. manufacturing and supply chains, among other measures. As China Tech Threat digs deeper into the ways in which China’s malign actions harm U.S. consumers, we support this effort. 

We are still seeing one of the largest threats come from state governments continuing to purchase U.S. military-restricted equipment. This includes buying products from Lenovo, a Chinese-owned company that has been restricted by multiple military and intelligence agencies in the U.S. and around the globe because of security deficiencies.

Through a FOIA request, we found that Georgia has spent over $1 million on Lenovo products in recent years giving the Chinese government having access and control over all data on their products used to maintain personal and sensitive records of Georgia across the state. 

Read our full Georgia FOIA report here: 

The use of restricted Chinese government-owned technology vendors by these agencies endangers Georgia’s personal and financial information. Most notably, our report found that The Department of Audits and Accounts and The Technical College System of Georgia have spent significant amounts on Lenovo products. The Department of Audits and Accounts exists to “provide decision makers with credible management information to promote improvements in accountability and stewardship in state and local government.” It has spent more than $600,000 on Lenovo equipment. Maintaining data about the state’s finances, taxes and other critical fiscal data, is all work that involves sensitive personal information. Their purchase of Lenovo products could compromise all of that information. Further, The Technical College System of Georgia oversees the state’s technical colleges, adult literacy programs, and a host of economic and workforce development programs. The organzionat has access to a wide range of sensitive information for Georgians statewide, including test scores, certifications, financial and criminal records. It has spent more than $300,000 on Lenovo equipment.

State and federal officials serving Georgia should work together to take action against these risky purchases. Lisa Eason, Deputy Commissioner of the State Purchasing Division and Calvin Rhodes, Executive Director and State Chief Information Officer can, and should work within the state government to prevent Lenovo products from being used or purchased.

Further, Georgia’s Congressional Leadership has been at the forefront of countering the China threat. Rep. Buddy Carter has been vocal spoken out about reliance on Chinese products and has introduced legislation “designed to significantly reduce the advantage that foreign countries provide and encourage companies to maintain, expand or relocate their production activities back to the United States.” Further, Rep. Rick Allen has been a leader in the fight against China’s unfair trade practices. He said publicly that China is out of control and needs to be reeled in.

This bipartisan issue affects all Americans. We urge those who can act to do so and we hope that our elected officials, who work to protect user privacy, will resolve this increasingly concerning threat.

Read our full Georgia FOIA here: