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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Sen. Cassidy warns administration about security concerns related to Chinese wearbale devices

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U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is urging Trump Administration officials to address potential security concerns related to China using wearable technology products to catalog American’s personal data.

“Chinese smartwatches and other devices can stockpile data about a user’s health, finances, location and more,” Cassidy said. “American’s private data is not safe in the hands of Chinese companies. We must address this security threat.”

This comes as Chinese companies like Huawei have increased production and shipments of wearables to the United States. These wearable technology products can include sensitive health data, facial and voice recognition, audio from microphones, geolocation, electronic payment, access control for mass transit systems and smart locks, social media usage, and other sensitive data.

I am writing to call your attention to an emerging concern to U.S. consumer privacy– the proliferation of wearables (e.g., smartwatches and fitness trackers) sold by Chinese companies to U.S. consumers.

“I strongly believe we need to think of the access we allow companies who we highly suspect are controlled by foreign governments to American consumers and their personal data with a similar caution as with Huawei providing telecommunications infrastructure here in the U.S,” Cassidy wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “At a minimum, we have a duty to make U.S. consumers aware of the privacy risks of buying a wearable from a Chinese company. I encourage you to take steps to ensure the safety of Americans as the Administration continues to negotiate with China on behalf of U.S. consumers and our domestic industries.”