U.S. to scrutinize IT system purchases with ties to China

The security checks were included in a new funding law signed earlier this week

Certain U.S. federal agencies could be hindered from buying information technology systems made by companies with links to the Chinese government under the new funding law signed by President Barack Obama earlier this week.

U.S. authorities will vet all IT system purchases made from the Commerce and Justice Departments, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, for possible security risks, according to section 516 of the new law.

"Cyber-espionage or sabotage" risks will be taken into account, along with the IT system being "produced, manufactured, or assembled" by companies that are owned, directed or funded by the Chinese government.

IT systems that are found to be of "national interest" can then be brought before U.S. lawmakers for appropriation.

The funding law only extends until Sept. 30. But the inclusion of the security checks comes as China's is being increasingly blamed for hacking attacks against international companies. The most recent allegations have come from a U.S. security firm, which has said its traced an overwhelming number of cyber attacks to a possible military unit of China's People's Liberation Army.

The security concerns are also tarnishing the reputation of Chinese tech firms with alleged links to the nation's government. Last year, a U.S. congressional committee concluded that telecommunication equipment suppliers Huawei Technologies and ZTE, could be influenced by the Chinese government to undermine U.S. security. Both the U.S. government and U.S. firms should buy from other vendors, the committee advised.

But the new security checks included in the U.S. funding law could affect a whole host of technology vendors with ties to China. One of those is Chinese PC maker Lenovo, which acquired the ThinkPad line from IBM in 2005.

"This could turn out to be a harsh blow for companies like Lenovo that have so far escaped the spotlight trained on Huawei and ZTE," wrote former U.S. Department of Homeland Security official Stewart Baker on his blog.

But U.S. vendors could face scrutiny as well, given that many companies rely on electronics suppliers based in China. "It's not clear that they even know which of their suppliers and assemblers are directed or subsidized by the Chinese government," Baker added.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationLenovoZTEHuawei Technologies

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?