Executive order blocks state business with ‘evil foreign governments’
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s order will ensure companies associated with hostile nations do not access state infrastructure or data through IT or telecommunications contracts.
South Dakota agencies are banned from doing business with IT and telecommunications companies owned or controlled by what Gov. Kristi Noem (R) described as “evil foreign governments.”
The Jan. 20 executive order prevents the state from doing business with companies associated with the governments of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela. Noem said in a statement the order will ensure that those countries cannot “leverage” telecommunications or state contracts to access state infrastructure and data.
The executive order requires companies bidding on state contracts to certify in writing that they are not owned, influenced or affiliated with those countries. If vendors are found to have falsely certified their relationship with those countries, their contract will be subject to immediate termination. Vendors must also provide written notice if during the course of a contract it “no longer complies with this certification,” per Noem’s order.
The order also states that agencies are banned from procuring or using tech including devices, services, components, networks and systems that have been prohibited by the federal government on national security grounds. They also are prevented from purchasing or using technology from companies that work on behalf of those prohibited entities, as determined by the federal or state government.
That effort to follow the federal government’s lead more closely on banning risky technology or companies has received support from representatives of Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. Given the fragmented nature of the state procurement process, states aligning their procurement policies with federal agencies could help promote a “more cohesive, nationwide approach,” Jack Corrigan, a research analyst at CSET, said in a recent webinar.
The executive order notes that its issuance comes as agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. military have “announced intentions” to develop rules on cybersecurity to counter the threat of foreign hacking.
Noem has sought to distance South Dakota’s government from foreign influence amid growing national security concerns. She was among the first governors to ban the use of social media app TikTok by state agencies, employees and contractors using state devices.
Separately, Noem has called for a review of all investments controlled by the South Dakota Investment Council to see if taxpayer dollars are being invested in companies deemed national security threats and proposed legislation to ban foreign purchases of agricultural land in the state.