All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Congressional bill aims to snuff out US government use of Chinese tech

27 Mar 2013
capitol hill

A recently passed Congressional spending bill will require US government organisations to get approval before buying information technology (IT) hardware from China.

The bill forces groups such as Nasa and the Department of Commerce to get approval from federal law enforcement before making IT hardware purchases made by foreign entities. Language in the bill specially points to fears of cyber attacks from China as a reason for the provision.

A stipulation in H.R. 933 states that any IT hardware that is owned, directed or subsided by the China government must receive approval from federal law enforcement officials.

H.R. 933 comes as China and US relations continue to be strained by cyber espionage attacks. A report last month linked China to a slew of cyber attacks on private enterprise. Security firm Mandiant claimed that the China government has hacked 141 companies.

Chinese businesses have also suffered because of cyber espionage allegations. Late last year, US government officials alleged that Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE had unethical ties with the Chinese government.

Officials warned that they could potentially block sales of Huawei and ZTE products in the US. The sales ban would have been based on the idea that the two firms were working with the Chinese government to initiate cyber spying campaigns in the US.

Both firms denied any wrong doing. They claimed the US government was considering a sales ban in an effort to help US tech makers. The firms alleged that US officials were working to ban their products based on a premeditated protectionist agenda.

While the bill could hurt foreign firms, some also believe that it could affect US companies. According to Stewart Baker, partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, the bill could create complications for any company that does business with Chinese tech firms.

"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. But it may also bring some surprises for American companies selling commercial IT gear to the government," wrote Baker in a recent blog post.

"It's not clear that they even know which of their suppliers and assemblers are directed or subsidised by the Chinese government. Where the IT system is manufactured doesn't answer the question; sanctions will depend not on where the system is made but on whether the company that supplies it is tainted by close ties to China's government."

It is common practice for US firms to partner with Chinese firms, though some such agreements have been stressed of late. Late last year, Cisco ended its longstanding sales partnership with ZTE following claims that the Chinese telecommunication firm sold Cisco technology to Iran.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

More on Government
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Tech gifts for Christmas 2014

Is a new tablet on your wish list this festive season, or have they become yesterday’s fad?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
iPhone 6 is available in silver gold and space grey

iPhone 6 video review

The best iOS handset to date

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) R12 Project Manager

A large Professional Services company are looking for...

IT Asset Specialist

Mobilisation specialists required….. Nationwide...

C# / ASP.NET Developers / Senior Developers

Job Description We're looking for other people like...

Graduate/ Junior Developer

About the company: Firmstep is a leader in helping...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.