After a Chinese-made hard drive was discovered in a military computer network system, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) on Sunday proposed establishing a qualification system for electronics suppliers.
The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology was setting up a cloud service network for the air force when the hard drive was discovered, but the device was replaced before any information was compromised, a source said.
The institute had informed its suppliers that it cannot use Chinese-made information technology (IT) products, so the supplier would be responsible for the hard drive, the source said, adding that the institute would consider follow-up measures if a similar incident occurred.
“However, some products labeled as made in China are Taiwanese products that are only manufactured in China, so a system to clearly distinguish between them is needed,” the source said, adding that such products might not compromise information security.
The government should establish a system that categorizes IT products based on their functionality and their level of importance to the systems they are used in, the source said.
Tsai said that a qualification system for suppliers of electronic products to the government has become necessary given the pervasiveness of Chinese-made IT products, as well as the propensity of some Chinese companies to hide the country of origin on their packaging.
Such a system would make the source of products more transparent and encourage Taiwanese companies to manufacture IT products locally, he said.
Military branches and the National Security Bureau prohibit the use of Chinese-made computer and information products, so more transparency would benefit the existing policy, he said.
“The Executive Yuan has also asked all government agencies and subcontractors to replace all Chinese-made products in their use by the end of the year,” he said.
Protecting information security in the government involves a two-tiered approach, he said.
“First, there needs to be a system to regulate suppliers, to classify them so that questionable companies cannot bid on government contracts,” he said.
“Second, the government must encourage Taiwanese companies to manufacture domestically, which would make the manufacturing process transparent,” he said.
Tsai also urged the institute to invest more to develop its own whole-system solutions, rather than buying components from suppliers.
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