PA Taxpayers’ Data At Risk of Surveillance Through Risky Chinese Technology

Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill prohibiting TikTok on state-owned devices and networks to protect Pennsylvania residents unanimously passed the Senate earlier this year. In addition to this bill, to properly safeguard taxpayers’ data, Pennsylvania should join the growing list of states passing laws to prohibit the purchase of other dangerous Chinese technology. 

As China Tech Threat’s (CTT) May briefing paper shows, states continue to use risky technology by Lexmark and Lenovo, manufacturers already restricted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection to the Chinese government and military. CTT’s recent research reveals that unlike many other states, Pennsylvania has had no direct spending on this harmful technology since 2019; however, its purchase through third-party resellers is possible but difficult to capture. 

The use of this dangerous technology gives China access to sensitive personal and financial information held by legislatures, courts, police departments, election boards, education departments and institutions, social services, and other state agencies. The prohibition of future purchases of this technology is imperative to protect Pennsylvania’s confidential and proprietary information and research from Chinese surveillance.

While Pennsylvania deserves recognition for no recent spending on this risky technology, it can still take action to prevent future purchases. Like the e 17 states that have taken action to ban state agencies from purchasing and deploying Chinese technology, Pennsylvania can enact legislation to secure its data. Specific efforts legislators in the Keystone State can mirror include those of 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

CTT encourages Pennsylvania’s leaders to join these states and pass legislation prohibiting these risky technology purchases.

Don’t forget to visit our Substack page!