Risky Chinese Technology Purchases Put California Data At Risk

On May 6, a San Bernardino man was arrested on allegations he stole sensitive information from his Southern California employers intended to aid China. The event is an ominous reminder of the need to remain vigilant to protect sensitive information, and why California needs to take action to stop the purchase of dangerous Chinese technology. 

China Tech Threat’s (CTT) recent research uncovered that the state of California spent $2,910,769 on restricted Chinese technology from Lenovo and Lexmark between 2019 and 2022. The technology has been deployed by the state legislature, Office of the Governor, and the Department of Natural Resources, as detailed by CTT’s fact sheet. Key legislative, state resources, and government data held by these agencies is vulnerable to theft by the People’s Republic of China because of this technology from manufacturers already restricted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection to the Chinese government and military. (Read more about Lexmark, Lenovo and three other dangerous Chinese government-owned tech manufacturers in our May briefing paper.) 

As a model, California’s legislators can look to the 17 states taking action to ban state agencies from purchasing and deploying Chinese technology to prevent the exposure of government and citizens’ confidential information to the Chinese government. These efforts include South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signing SB 189 into law in March, Idaho Governor Brad Little signing HB 294 and Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signing HB 1789 in April, and, most recently, on May 1 Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signing SB 477

CTT will continue to monitor the threats to California’s data and any efforts the state takes to protect it. 

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