Only the paranoid…

… survive, as Bill Gates knows. This week’s Economist reports that:

On May 18th America’s State Department said it would not use 16,000 computers it recently bought from Lenovo, a Chinese firm, for sensitive “classified” work. Instead the PCs will be used for more prosaic matters… Moreover, the department said it was “initiating changes in its procurement processes in light of the changing ownership of IT equipment providers”.

Interesting. Lenovo, you will remember, is the firm to which IBM sold its comjputer manufacturing business. So when you buy an IBM Thinkpad today, you’re really buying a Lenovo machine.

Why the State Department’s paranoia? Well, as the Economist tactlessly points out, the US has long experience of convert surveillance. For example, in 2001 there was a minor diplomatic scuffle when the Chinese discovered that a Boeing plane built for the then Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, was stuffed with bugging devices.