Not Just Land And Social Media, Missouri Must Also Protect Sensitive Data From China

In February, Missouri Senate President Caleb Rowden announced the formation of the Select Committee on the Protection of Missouri Assets from Foreign Adversaries to bolster the state’s defenses against foreign enemies. While the committee’s focus is agriculture ownership and social networking sites, the state must also stop purchasing risky technology from China-owned manufacturers.

China Tech Threat (CTT) found that between 2015 and 2023, Missouri spent $908,446 on Lexmark and Lenovo, Chinese technology already restricted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to its connection to the Chinese government and military. As our fact sheet details, this technology was purchased by the Judicial and Legislative Branches, as well as the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety, making sensitive judicial, legislative, and confidential information used to keep Missourians safe vulnerable to Chinese theft. (Read more about Lexmark, Lenovo and two other dangerous Chinese government-owned tech manufacturers in our May briefing paper.)

Legislators in Missouri are right to protect the state’s assets from foreign adversaries but need to address all vulnerabilities. To do so, they can follow the actions of legislators in over a dozen states who have acted to ban state agencies from purchasing and deploying Chinese technology to prevent the exposure of government and citizens’ sensitive information to the Chinese government. In particular, they can look to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem who 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 who signed SB 477

Legislation banning the purchase of this dangerous Chinese technology would put Missouri on the right track toward securing its sensitive data and Missourians’ personal information from Chinese surveillance.

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