Attempts To Dodge Chinese Hacking May Backfire As Usual

With concern about Chinese hacking on the rise, Congress passed new restrictions on buying equipment from China last month as part of a funding bill. The measures ban some federal purchases of networked equipment "produced, manufactured or assembled" by any group with a strong connection to China.

But members of the tech community, including the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), TechAmerica, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the U.S. Information Technology Office (USITO) oppose the measures (Section 516 of P.L. 113-6, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013) fearing that they will actually aid China's efforts to gather information.

In a letter to congress the group outlines its concerns, noting that a ban on federal purchases from China could make the U.S. government vulnerable by restricting access to the latest security technology. The letter also points out that the Chinese government may respond by screening technology from the U.S. and affiliate groups in the same way. It notes:

Geographic-based restrictions run the risk of creating a false sense of security when it comes to advancing our national cybersecurity interests. At a time when greater global cooperation and collaboration is essential to improve cybersecurity, geographic-based restrictions in any form risk undermining the advancement of global best practices and standards on cybersecurity.

Though Congress has thrown suspicion on Chinese IT solution companies in the past, an actual legislative precedent of restriction could have unintended consequences. [Huffington Post]