US senators demand probe into China’s alleged hacking of tech giants’ supply chains–South China Morning Post

What happened: In mid-October, SCMP reports, two US senators sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI director Christopher Wray, requesting that they look into allegations that China has used tiny chips embedded in motherboards to spy on major US tech companies. The letter also asks for a classified briefing on the matter no later than October 25. Both senators lead the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, which previously held a hearing on the hacking allegations. During the hearing, Nielsen and Wray suggested that there was insufficient proof of China infiltrating the US’ tech supply chain. A representative of one of the letter’s authors said that the request has been received and is being processed, although neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the FBI have commented to media on the matter.

Why it’s important: Although experts have cast doubt over whether the motherboard microchip hack is actually feasible, the aftershocks of Bloomberg’s explosive report earlier this month apparently still continue. In its story, Bloomberg BusinessWeek alleged that companies including Apple and Amazon have been hacked, and that motherboard supplier Supermicro was the unwitting key to the espionage effort. All three have vigorously denied the report. However, Bloomberg continues to stand by its story, which has gained considerable attention. That’s likely because it falls in line with a larger American narrative of tech trade secret thefts by China that have escalated the ongoing tariff battle.

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Bailey Hu

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.