You probably think spy planes and weather balloons are the only ways the Chinese government is spying on us, but they are also using apps, drones, laptops, and only games as well. Did you know that over a third of the world's electronics are developed in China? Now, this doesn't mean that every product coming out of China has ties to the government, but you should be aware of the technology that could be spying on your day-to-day habits. The purpose of this blog is not to scare you, but to help give you a better understanding of the gadgets that are produced in China in order to help you make choices of the products that you bring into your home or business.
When it comes to the idea of China spying on your tech, you have to look at the breakdown of who could want your data. There are companies that just happen to operate out of China VS the Chinese Communist government. Most big global tech companies are collecting your data which they then use to sell to third parties to help them find their target audience for advertising. However, any company operating out of China must hand over data to the Chinese government if ordered to. This means the Chinese Communist Party can get access to as many devices as they want.
Why should you care? I'm sure most of you are used to companies and countries spying on you, so why should you care about China spying on your tech? Well, there are several answers. First, the data they gather on you could be used for Identity Theft. Next, they could be compiling the data to make a quick buck on you in the form of social engineer attacks that are specifically designed to trick you Finally, China could be collecting the data for a rainy day as they can turn to AI to find out how they could use that data again you. Now every Chinese tech company
What are the ways China is using technology? Take a look at the following:
Let's take a look at those Apps. At this point, everyone knows that TikTok, owned by ByteDance is based out of China and has been accused of spying. But did you know the apps Discord, Weibo, WeChat, and Alibaba are also owned by Chinese companies? Now there have been at least more than two dozen states that have banned TikTok, but what does this mean for you? I'm not sharing that you should remove the app completely from your devices, but you should at least be careful about the personal information that you share on these apps.
I thought all video games were US Based. Well, you're wrong. Everyone is talking about WeChat and TikTok, but China’s grip on the global video gaming market is the most concerning out of all of the tech that comes out of Chinese consumer tech products. Chinese companies have been snatching up video game companies in the past 10 years. China-based Tencent has acquired companies that have developed games like Clash of Clans and Fortnite. Believe it or not, people spend more time playing video games than they do on WeChat and TikTok. Unlike the video games created 15-20 years ago, modern video games are web-based and sometimes require you or your kids to give out personal information to even play them.
What about computers and their associated peripherals? Yes, brands like Lexmark printers and Lenovo computers have been suspected for a while to be able to spy on you. The Department of Defense has reported several attacks through these devices that have caused a loss of vital military information.
Chinese Smartphones are spying on you too. Technology is expensive, but you should really think twice before buying an Android phone from an unfamiliar manufacturer. Stay away from smartphones that cost less than $100. If a smartphone doesn't cost much and doesn't make you watch ads, then you have to wonder how else the company makes money. They are snooping on you and stealing your data.
Are there any other devices? With most of the semiconductor technology which is installed in our tech devices, it's possible China is spying on you through smart bulbs, fridges, cars, and credit cards.
Back in 2021, PC magazine published a great article showcasing the tech and the businesses that are producing technology here in the United States. Here is a list of the 46 companies that are producing tech:
US Chipmakers and Component Manufacturers
Corning Gorilla Glass, made in Harrodsburg, KY, covers the screens of your favorite mobile phones.
Ericsson’s Smart Factory in Lewisville, TX, is building 5G base stations for US wireless carriers.
GlobalFoundries makes chips and wafers in upstate NY and VT for AMD, the automotive industry, and others.
Intel’s processors are made in the US.
Micron produces DRAM and NAND flash memory at two locations in the US.
OFS makes giant spools of fiber-optic cable for internet connections.
PNY, based in Parsippany, NJ, assembles flash drives.
Qorvo makes some of the RF chips that go into iPhones.
Samsung has been making chips in Austin, TX for more than 20 years.
Skyworks is Qorvo’s top competitor for board space in iPhones.
TI makes a range of chips at its plant in Richardson, TX.
It’s impossible to build a PC entirely without foreign parts, but these firms handle primary assembly in the US:
Apple makes some Mac Pro models in TX.
Datto builds backup servers in CT.
DigitalStorm produces gaming PCs in CA.
Falcon Northwest has been building high-end PCs in OR since 1992.
HP Enterprise builds some servers in WI.
Lenovo has a small assembly operation in NC.
MSI builds some of its Aegis and Codex desktops in the US.
Origin PC makes all of its computers in FL.
Supermicro servers for the US are often made in CA.
Every Velocity Micro PC is assembled by hand in VA.
Many higher-end audio brands are still made at least partially in the US, and some other higher-end consumer electronics are made here, too.
Audeze headphones are assembled in CA.
Clark Blumenstein handcrafts wooden speaker cabinets in WA.
Dan Clark Audio makes its headphones in CA.
Flir builds infrared camera sensors in CA.
Grado headphones have been made in NY since 1953.
Some Klipsch speaker cabinets are still carved by hand in AR.
Kymeta produces satellite dishes in WA for off-the-grid internet access.
McIntosh Labs audio products are all made in NY.
Planar builds “video walls” of multiple LCD panels in OR.
RED cameras are assembled in CA.
Seura’s televisions disappear into attractive wall mirrors; they’re made in WI.
Shinola is a mainstay of the “new Detroit,” MI.
Skydio is the top US manufacturer of drones, located in CA.
Starlink builds consumer satellite terminals in WA and is considering making many more in TX.
Sunbrite TVs are made for the outdoors in sunny southern CA.
U-Turn Audio turntables have always been made in MA.
Hopefully, this has given you an idea of how China is spying on you through your technology and how it impacts you. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!
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