Tennessee Should Take Next Steps To Ban Chinese Tech Following TikTok Ban

In April, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law Bill SB0834/HB1445 banning access to platforms and apps that are hosted from China. The signing of the bills comes after continuous potential threats of data leaks to the PRC. While banning Chinese applications is a first step, Tennessee must do more. Having spent more than $330,000 on technology from Chinese-owned manufacturers, the state must stop these purchases. 

In a recent report, China Tech Threat discovered that between 2019 and 2022, the state of Tennessee spent $336,476 on Chinese government-owned technology manufacturers Lexmark and Lenovo that have been banned by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection to the Chinese government and military. 

States that are continuing their contracts and continuing to purchase these technologies are putting sensitive information at risk. Our Tennessee fact sheet shows that the technology was purchased by the Department of Education and the Tennessee Court System, which hold sensitive information now at risk of being obtained by the PRC due to China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law which obligates all Chinese companies to cooperate with any Chinese government directive to hand over information in their possession.

China Tech Threat urges the Tennessee legislature to join the growing momentum in over a dozen states that have taken action to ban the purchase and deployment of this dangerous Chinese-owned technology by state agencies. These states include South Dakota where Governor Kristi Noem signed SB 189 into law in March, Idaho where Governor Brad Little signed HB 294 and Arkansas where Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed HB 1789 in April, and, most recently on May 1, Indiana where Governor Eric Holcomb signed SB 477. Tennessee should make every effort to protect its sensitive information against Chinese technology aggression and keep Tennessee’s data safe.