Nearly $5 Million Spent On Restricted China Tech Puts Wisconsin Data At Risk

On May 24 Microsoft warned that Chinese state-sponsored hackers compromised critical cyber infrastructure in a variety of industries, including government and communications organizations. But, not all threats to U.S. infrastructure come from hackers. China Tech Threat’s (CTT) research shows in recent years Wisconsin spent nearly $5 million on restricted Chinese technology, making its data and infrastructure vulnerable to Chinese infiltration. 

As reported in CTT’s fact sheet, between 2019 and 2023 Wisconsin spent $4,751,370 on risky Chinese technology from Lexmark and Lenovo. The Supreme Court, Department of Corrections, Department of Revenue, and the University of Wisconsin System are among the agencies deploying this technology already restricted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection to the Chinese government and military. More information about Lexmark, Lenovo and two other dangerous Chinese government-owned tech manufacturers can be found in our May briefing paper.

Using this technology makes any sensitive state, legal and financial data, as well as proprietary and confidential research, vulnerable to theft by the Chinese government. The Badger State can protect its information, however, by following a growing number of states that have enacted legislation to ban state agencies from purchasing and deploying Chinese technology. 

Specifically, Wisconsin’s legislators can mirror the efforts of South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem who signed SB 189 into law in March, Idaho’s Governor Brad Little who signed HB 294 and Arkansas’ Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders who signed HB 1789 in April, and, most recently, on May 1 Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb who signed SB 477. Enacting similar legislation will help Wisconsin safeguard its data. CTT will continue to monitor the state’s efforts toward this goal. 

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