City council members in Grand Forks, North Dakota, last month voted unanimously to halt a Chinese company’s proposed corn mill after the US Air Force said its proximity to a military base would pose a national security risk. If North Dakotans knew of the more than 1 million the state spent on banned Chinese technology from Lexmark and Lenovo, they’d expect state legislators to act just as quickly to halt further purchases.
China Tech Threat’s (CTT) recent research shows that between 2018 and 2023, North Dakota spent $1,372,439 on risky technology being used in the state’s universities and the Department of Workforce Safety and Insurance, as outlined in CTT’s fact sheet. Proprietary research and intellectual property as well as residents’ personal information and data are vulnerable to theft by China through the use of this technology by Chinese government-owned manufacturers already banned by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection with the PRC government and military. (Read more about Lexmark, Lenovo and two other dangerous Chinese government-owned tech manufacturers in our February briefing paper.)
Last year, Gov. Doug Burgum signed an executive order banning the social media app TikTok from state-owned devices issued by executive branch agencies, citing growing national security concerns. The state should not stop there.
Legislators in North Dakota should follow others in over a dozen states taking action to ban state agencies from purchasing and deploying Chinese technology to prevent the exposure of government and citizens’ sensitive information to the Chinese government. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed SB 189 into law in March, Idaho 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 Governor Eric Holcomb signed SB 477.
CTT will continue to monitor North Dakota’s efforts to protect against Chinese technology aggression.