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Texas’ Contracts with Chinese Government-Owned Technology Vendors

Sensitive Personal and Financial Information is at Risk

Learn More about the Impact in Texas


The Problem

Chinese government-owned technology manufacturers, including PC-giants Lenovo and Lexmark, have been banned by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to fears of information security. (Read the report)


Who can take action?

Bobby Pounds, State Chief Procurement Officer, who “oversees the operations of Statewide Procurement and Contract Management, Procurement Policy and Outreach, [and] Training and Certification.” In this position he “maintains a focus on collaboration, transparency, [and] excellent customer service.” (Read more)

Amanda Crawford, Executive Director of Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) who is “responsible for the overall leadership, direction, and daily operations of DIR, an agency with an annual fiscal profile of more than $4 billion per year.” (Read more)

What actions have Congressional Leaders taken?

Senator John Cornyn – Senator Cornyn has been one of the fiercest China hawks in the Senate. His 2020 CHIPS Act to compete with China in the semiconductor space was signed into law and n 2019, he introduced the UIGHUR Protection Act to place export controls on critical technologies to China, such as facial recognition software, that can be used to facilitate mass surveillance and detention. (Read more on his efforts here)

Senator Ted Cruz – Senator Cruz, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been outspoken on the CCP and technology related issues since he elected to Congress. Last year he introduced the CCAS Act to prevent Chinese surveillance and espionage by prohibiting U.S. federal employees from conducting official business over platforms run by Tencent, Huawei, ZTE and other companies the U.S. Department of State determines are controlled by the CCP.  (Read more on his efforts here)

Representative Shelia Jackson Lee – Congresswoman Jackson Lee has been a fierce advocate for cyber security across Texas and the country. Recently, the The House Homeland Security Committee voted to advance Jackson Lee’s bill, Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation Act. The bill seeks to enhance the “nation’s preparedness to respond to disasters, terrorist threats and incidents, and to safeguard our democracy in the 21st Century.” (Read more on her efforts here)

Analysis

Despite military and intelligence agency bans, the Texas State Government, including the Office of the Attorney General, has spent more than a combined $6 million on Lenovo and Lexmark products in the last five years. (See the State’s Freedom of Information Act request response here (Lenovo and Lexmark) and our summary here.)


Select Vulnerabilities:

The use of restricted Chinese government-owned technology vendors by these agencies endangers Texas’ personal and financial information.

The Office of the Attorney General champions liberty and justice for Texas and the principles of individual liberty, limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility guide the work of the Office of Attorney General. It is designed to uphold the law and keep the people of Texas safe. It has spent $3.7 million dollars on Lexmark equipment.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice manages inmates in state prisons, state jails, and private correctional facilities that contract with the TDCJ. The agency also provides funding and certain oversight of community supervision and is responsible for the supervision of inmates released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision. This is all work that involves sensitive personal information on some of the state’s most vulnerable people, yet it has spent more than $1.6 million on Lenovo equipment.

The Texas Historical Commission consults with citizens and organizations to preserve Texas history through its architectural, archeological, and cultural landmarks. It’s mission is to protect and preserve the state’s historic and prehistoric resources. This involves generations of records on a wide range of sensitive topics. It has spent over $300,000 on Lenovo equipment over the last five years.

The mission of the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Texas by ensuring that each person holding a license as a nurse in the State of Texas is competent to practice safely. It has spent over $176,000 on Lenovo equipment.