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Note to Students: Before answering the questions, read the “Background” and “Resources” below.
1. What has Congress done in response to the Chinese government’s cyber espionage against the U.S.? Be specific.
2. How has the Chinese government responded to the ban?
3. After years of research, what did security firm Mandiant reveal about the Chinese government?
4. For how long will the ban be in effect?
5. Why will the ban be problematic to implement?
6. Despite the difficulties associated with implementing the ban, do you think it is necessary? Explain your answer.
THE BAN ON U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES PURCHASING ANY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FROM CHINA:
- The new rule, which was buried in a spending bill signed this week, comes after a string of hacks traced back to China hit some of America’s most important companies.
- Lawmakers tucked the provision into the latest budget resolution, which enables the government to pay for day-to day operations for the rest of the fiscal year, under the innocuous heading ‘section 156.’
- It bans the Commerce and Justice departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation from buying hardware ‘produced, manufactured or assembled’ by any entity ‘owned, operated or subsidized’ by the People’s Republic of China.
- The agencies can only acquire the technology if, after consulting with the FBI, they determine that there is no risk of ‘cyberespionage or sabotage associated with the acquisition of the system’.
- It will only be in effect until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, but could yet pave the way for broader, more permanent changes in how the U.S. government buys technology. (from a report in the dailymail)
- The provision came to attention via a blog post by lawyer Stewart A. Baker, a former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. Baker wrote that the sanctions “[demonstrate] remarkable bipartisan angst about Chinese hacking and the risks in Chinese high tech equipment.” The law means that NASA, the National Science Federation, and the Justice and Commerce Departments, need to get approval from federal law enforcement officials before buying information technology systems in order to assess “cyber-espionage or sabotage” risk. In particular, federal law officials must first assess “any risk associated with such system being produced, manufactured or assembled by one or more entities that are owned, directed or subsidized” by China.
- But Chinese tech companies may not be the only ones impacted by the new law. Baker also wrote that the legislation may bring “some surprises for American companies selling commercial IT gear to the government” because they might not know which suppliers and assemblers are directed or subsidized by the Chinese government. As Baker noted in another post, the new law restricts purchases from Chinese state-influenced companies, no matter where they manufacture their products. “This means that the provision could prevent purchases of Lenovo computers manufactured in Germany, or Huawei handsets designed in Britain,” Baker said.(from techcrunch)
For an article detailing the Chinese government’s cyberattacks against the U.S., go to:
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