The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional commission in the U.S. have warned the government to purchase of Chinese tech. The congressional commission said the purchase of Internet-linked devices that are manufactured in China leaves the U.S. at risk to security breaches and could put critical infrastructure vulnerable.
In their annual report published on Wednesday, the congressional commission warned against threats to the U.S. government and private sector firms from a reliance on global supply chains linked to China that is the world’s largest manufacturer of IT equipment. China’s move to dominate in the high-tech industry by 2025 already generated a sore point with Washington and a contributing factor in trade tensions that have already seen the world’s two largest economies impose billions of dollars in punitive tariffs on each other’s products this year. The bipartisan commission stressed the potential security risks to the U.S. by China’s pre-eminence in the IoT devices that include sensors, which accumulate and share data and connect to the internet.
The report stated that the scale of Chinese support to the IoT devices, the close supply chain integration between U.S. and China, and China’s role as an economic and military competitor to the U.S. creates huge economic, security, data privacy, and supply chain risks for the U.S. The congressional commission, who doesn’t establish policy but make recommendations to Congress and the U.S. administration, is warning that potential impact of malicious Cyber attacks which will exaggerate with the adoption of ultra-fast 5G networks that could accelerate data speeds by up to 100 times. The report further noted that the poor security and universal connectivity of IoT devices generate several points of vulnerability where hackers or malicious state actors can exploit to hold U.S. critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals at risk.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has already taken some steps to limit the use of Chinese-based high technology. It has restricted government procurement from Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE who refused their products are used for spying by China’s authoritarian government. The commission is also calling for reviews by U.S. government agencies on their supply chain vulnerabilities. It pointed out that the U.S. government relies on commercial, off-the-shelf products, in which many of them manufactured in China.