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A Chinese company that is designing subway train cars for U.S. cities is at the center of growing scrutiny over worries that its products could be susceptible to hacking or remote control.
Lawmakers from both parties have urged transit agencies, including the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in New York state, not to award contracts to the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), claiming concerns about national security.
They have cited cyber- and other security concerns and warned against giving a Chinese state-owned business control over critical American infrastructure.
In a letter earlier this month, a bipartisan group of House members from New York wrote to the New York City Transit Authority and the MTA, warning of “comprehensive efforts to undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also zeroed in on this issue last week, calling on the Commerce Department to “thoroughly investigate” the CRRC.
The lawmakers who have put the spotlight on the CRRC acknowledge that no American companies currently manufacture rail cars. But they note that the next generation of rail cars will include Wi-Fi systems and more advanced train tracking technology and caution that more safeguards must be in place to ensure security.
“Given what we know about how cyberwarfare works, and recent attacks that have hit transportation and infrastructure hubs across the country, the Department of Commerce must give the green light and thoroughly check any proposals or work China’s CRRC does on behalf of the New York subway system, including our signals, Wi-Fi and more,” Schumer said in a statement.
The CRRC is only the latest Chinese firm to come under the microscope in the U.S. over security concerns. The administration last month decided to blacklist products from Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, before granting a 90-day delay. And the scrutiny comes with the U.S. and China in the midst of a trade war after billions in tit-for-tat tariffs and with negotiations on a new trade deal deadlocked.
This article first appeared on thehill.com
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