State & Local Agencies Went All-In On Chinese Telecom Gear Despite Federal Ban

While the federal government went to great lengths to block Chinese telecom equipment from US supply chains, state and local governments across the country continued to acquire all sorts of products designated a threat to national securityAxios reports, citing a new report published Wednesday by Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET).

Federal officials, particularly under the Trump administration, have been warning that Chinese telecom equipment could open US systems to economic espionage or digital sabotage.

As Axios notes;

  • State and local governments should better align themselves with federal policies in order to keep the gear out of schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure across the country, according to a report published today by Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET).

Background: Federal agencies have been banned since 2018 from procuring products from Chinese tech companies Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Dahua, and Hytera.

  • However, federal-level bans don’t apply to state agencies.
  • Only five states — Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Vermont — have enacted some measures to limit procurement of such equipment on national security grounds, though the report warns loopholes still exist in some of those states.

The report highlights that between 2015 and 2021, at least 1,681 state and local entities bought equipment and services tied to five Chinese companies. The total value of these purchases was around $45 million, of which around 75% came from public school districts, colleges, and universities.- READ MORE