Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Friday signed an executive order that bars 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.
Additionally, Noem’s office said the order, known as Executive Order 2023-02, requires that “every state contract include a clause certifying that the contractor is not owned, influenced, or affiliated with to these countries”.
“It is essential that we protect the people of South Dakota from evil foreign governments,” Noem said after signing the order, which goes into effect next week. “This order ensures that these countries cannot leverage telecommunications or government procurement to access critical state infrastructure and data.”
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“Maintenance of South Dakota State Government cybersecurity is necessary to continue serving the citizens of South Dakota,” the order reads. “The Chinese Communist Party has increasingly purchased vital agricultural land needed for the nation’s food independence and real estate near critical infrastructure, such as real estate near a military base in Grand Folks, in North Dakota.”
Additionally, the order stated that South Dakota “is home to critical infrastructure vital to national security” and that “cybersecurity vulnerabilities could have real consequences for residents of South Dakota.”
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“Countries such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea have engaged in increasingly aggressive cyberattacks against U.S. assets, including Iranian financially motivated ransomware operations, attempted Russian phishing attacks, targeted Chinese mining of corporate data, cyberattacks on crucial ports since 2013, and the cyber and physical targeting of power grid stations in Washington, North Carolina and other states in late 2022” , says the order.
Last November, Noem made headlines when she signed an executive order barring state agencies — or those who contract with them — from accessing the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok, and warned that the Chinese Communist Party was ripping information from users.
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“It’s off our networks. It’s blocked on our servers. Any state employee, anyone who contracts with the State of South Dakota, anyone who uses one of our systems does not will no longer be able to download or use 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 that TikTok poses a threat to the state of Mount Rushmore and the personal data of all South Dakotans and, by extension, Americans.
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this article.