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Utah’s Contracts with Chinese Government-Owned Technology Vendors

Sensitive Personal and Financial Information is at Risk

Learn More about the Impact in Utah


The Problem

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


Who can take action?

Christopher Hughes, Director of the Division of Purchasing and General Services, who is “responsible for procurement, print services, state mail, and state surplus operations for the state.” (Read more)

What actions have Congressional Leaders taken?

Senator Mitt Romney – Senator Romney has been a prominent China Hawk in Congress. At a recent hearing, he outlined the need for the United States to develop a comprehensive strategy to confront China’s growing aggression. He said, “Their [China] cyber theft, putting people in our universities to steal technologies. The list goes on and on.” (Read more on his efforts here

Representative Chris Stewart – As member of China Task Force, Congressman Stewart has focused on challenging threats that China presents. Of China’s rise, he has said, “we are witnessing a generational geopolitical realignment as the world begins to recognize the true intent of Chinese leadership’s capabilities and ambitions.” (Read more on his efforts here)

Analysis

Despite military and intelligence agency bans, the Utah State Government has spent more than $11 million on Lenovo products in the last five years. (See the State’s Freedom of Information Act request response here and our summary here.)


Select Vulnerabilities:

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

The Utah System of Higher Education’s mission is to provide high quality academic, professional and applied technology learning opportunities designed to advance the intellectual, cultural, social, and economic well-being of the state and its people. It has spent over $6 million Lenovo equipment. Private records held by the department may include financial records, criminal records and a range of personal information required for entrance into higher education institutions.

The Utah State Board of Department of Education exercises “general control and supervision” over the public education system in Utah, including establishing the state educational core standards, state educator licensing policies, and state high school graduation requirements. It has spent more than $3 million Lenovo equipment. Maintaining data about the state’s students and educators, including test scores, grades, eligibility for free/reduced meals, teacher evaluations and certifications, is all work that involves sensitive personal information.

Utah Retirement Systems provides retirement and insurance benefits exclusively for Utah public employees. Serving more than 200,000 members and about 470 public employers, including the State of Utah, its local governments, school districts, higher education, and more, the URS has access to a wide range of personal information of Utahans, especially older residents who may be more susceptible to cyber risks. It has spent almost $1 million on Lenovo equipment.