Idaho’s Data at Risk from China-owned Products Purchased by State

China Tech Threat continues to report on how Chinese technology is harming consumers across the US. One of the largest threat comes from state governments continuing to purchase U.S. military-banned equipment. This includes buying products from Lenovo, a Chinese-owned company that has been banned by multiple military and intelligence agencies in the U.S. and around the globe because of security deficiencies.

Now, as China Tech Threat continues to dig deeper into the real and present threat Lenovo products present, we have discovered that the state of Idaho has made substantial purchases and is potentially exposing its residents to great risk.

Through a FOIA request, we found that Idaho has spent a total of over $4 million on Lenovo products in recent years, despite the Chinese government having access and control over all data on their products.

Read our full Idaho FOIA report here:

Most concerning is the wide range of Idaho government agencies that have purchased Lenovo’s banned equipment. They range from public health, to education to even the Idaho Supreme Court. This technology being used by over 15 difference agencies that touch almost every division of state government are endangering sensitive data of Idaho residents..  

For example, The Idaho State Department of Education’s role is to support schools and students. It is responsible for implementing policies, distributing funds, administering statewide assessments, licensing educators, and providing accountability data. It is designed to educate, keep children safe and help grow the next generation of. It has spent more than $1.8 million on Lenovo equipment that could potentially damage the privacy and protection of those it is intended to serve.

Further, the Idaho Supreme Court, combined Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Clerk’s Office and the State Law Library have spent more than $350,000 on Lenovo equipment. The judicial branch was founded to hold the law and keep Americans safe and accountable. By purchasing Lenovo equipment, they are jeopardizing their efforts. 

State and federal officials representing Idaho should work together to take action against these risky purchases. Both Valerie Bollinger, Chief Procurement Officer of the state, and Greg Zickau, State Chief Information Officer of the state, can work within the state government to prevent Lenovo products from being used or purchased.

Further, in Congress, both Senators Crapo and Risch have long standing leadership in the fight against Chinese aggression in the technological sphere. Senator Crapo convened a hearing on threats from China, which had a particular focus on the semiconductor industry, and wrote in a column “U.S. national security grounds are called upon to confront threats to America’s dominance in high technology manufacturing and other threats from China.” As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Risch has introduced legislation to “safeguard our interests, and those of our allies and partners, and retain our position as a global leader” against China.

This bipartisan issue effects 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.