VIDEO: Maine Advances Bill To Stop State Purchase of Restricted China Tech

China Tech Threat (CTT) provided expert testimony at a January 25 Maine State and Local Government Committee meeting, where the committee voted to advance legislation to restrict state purchase of dangerous Chinese technology already restricted by the federal government. Nine other states have already enacted similar policies, including Vermont which was the first state to take action in 2019.

In an interview about her bill, Act to Prohibit State Contracts with Companies Owned or Operated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China (LD877, SP0374) Senator Lisa Keim told CTT: “China is not our friend. They are collecting information and our data for purposes that are not beneficial to us and have been doing it for years. We absolutely have to stop this in state government. We need to do this to protect our people and our businesses.” 

State action is needed as a China Tech Threat report on state spending on technology from companies owned or operated by the Chinese Government found the state of Maine has spent more than $5 million on dangerous Chinese technology from Lenovo which has been restricted by the federal government and America’s military or intelligence agencies for years due to connections with the Chinese government.

The fact is, Chinese companies that have been banned or restricted from U.S. military and national security networks like Lenovo, Lexmark, Hikvision, and DJI can still contract with state governments. While federal policy directs information security at the federal level, states must determine their own security standards making them vulnerable to intrusion through the purchase of these risky Chinese technology products and services.

The CTT report found that 28 states have cumulatively bought a total of at least $230 million worth of Lexmark or Lenovo equipment since 2015, with individual states spending up to $47 million. That is why a growing number of states are starting their 2024 legislative sessions with bills to prohibit the purchase of technology by companies owned or operated by the Chinese government.

Also demonstrating support for the bill in 2023, the Manufacturers Association of Maine wrote in testimony, “We believe this bill addresses a concerning issue and it’s important that the state and state funded entities are not inadvertently procuring goods or services that could unknowingly put them at risk.”

Sen. Keim should be commended for her leadership to protect Maine residents, their privacy and sensitive data from escalating threats.