There has been growing awareness over that past few years that states are vulnerable to intrusion by the Chinese government, starting with China Tech Threat’s 2020 report, Stealing From the States: China’s Power Play in IT Contracts. A March 2022 report by cybersecurity firm Mandiant exposed that at least six states were hacked by the Chinese government – six that we know of. And this past July, the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center issued a notice warning of China’s aggressive campaign to exert influence at the state and local levels. The notice provided specific detail on China’s strategy to collect personal information on state and local leaders and their associates.
Fortunately, 2022 was a pivotal year as several states took action to prohibit contracts with companies connected to America’s leading adversary. Georgia bill SB 346, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order, and model policy passed by the American Legislative Exchange Council to guide state policy are now serving as polices in a number of states at the start of the 2023 legislative session.
2023 is poised for more state action as momentum grows and state lawmakers collaborate to protect their residents, businesses, government offices and infrastructure from these escalating threats. A new media report catalogues at least four additional states where lawmakers have already introduced bills in the past couple of weeks:
“Based on what I have seen across the country, China has insidious and nefarious plans to infiltrate our technology . . . This is a lot more dangerous than TikTok” New Hampshire Rep. Terry Roy told the Epoch Times. “We cannot allow our economy, our national security, to be overly reliant on China—they are our greatest threat,” South Caroline Representative Steve Wayne Long added while also emphasizing that banning technology produced by CCP-affiliated Chinese companies should be a bipartisan issue.
Stay tuned as China Tech Threat closely track and advocates for passage of the important state legislation and prepares to release an updated report on states contracts with risky Chinese technology companies next month.