South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order Friday that prevents the state from doing business with particular telecommunications companies owned or operated by “evil foreign governments.”
The order, according to Noem’s office, blocks business with companies associated with the governments of China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.
In addition, Noem’s office said the order, known as Executive Order 2023-02, requires that “every state contract include a clause certifying the contractor is not owned, influenced, or affiliated with these countries.”
“It is critical that we protect South Dakotans from evil foreign governments,” Noem said after signing the order, which will take effect next week. “This order ensures that these countries cannot leverage telecommunications or state contract procurements to gain access to crucial state infrastructure and data.”
“Maintaining the cybersecurity of South Dakota state government is necessary to continue to serve South Dakota citizens,” the order stated. “The Chinese Communist Party has increasingly purchased vital agricultural land necessary to the nation’s food independence and real property near critical infrastructure, such as real property near a military base in Grand Folks, North Dakota.”
Additionally, the order stated that South Dakota is “home to critical infrastructure vital to national security” and that “cybersecurity vulnerabilities may lead to real-world consequences for South Dakota residents.”
“Countries including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea have engaged in increasingly aggressive cyber-attacks on the United States assets, including Iranian financially-motivated ransomware operations, Russian phishing attempts, Chinese targeted extractions of corporate data, cyber-attacks on crucial ports since 2013, and the cyber and physical targeting of electric grid stations in Washington, North Carolina, and other states in late 2022,” the order noted.
Last November, Noem made headlines when she signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies – or those who contract with them – from accessing the China-owned social media app TikTok and warned the Chinese Communist Party is ripping information from users.
“It’s off our networks. It’s blocked off of our servers. Any state employee, anybody who contracts with the state of South Dakota, anybody who uses any of our systems no longer will be able to download or utilize this app because of the national security threat that it is,” Noem told Fox News at the time.
Accessing the app will be a criminal offense, she said, adding TikTok poses a threat to the Mount Rushmore State and the personal data of all South Dakotans, and by extension, Americans.
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this article.
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