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U.S. military unknowingly bought Chinese surveillance tech, prosecutors say – Axios

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New York-based Aventura Technologies sold Chinese-made surveillance equipment to the U.S. military for over a decade, the New York Times reports, and federal prosecutors say the company lied about the origin of its products.

The big picture: Aventura Technologies sold surveillance, night-vision and body cameras, automated turnstiles and other security equipment to various government agencies, including the Department of Energy, prosecutors said. The equipment “was vulnerable to hacking … raising the possibility that American government agencies had installed software in their security networks that could be used for spying by China.”

  • The Navy, Army and Air Force are the firm’s biggest customers, totaling $88 million in sales since 2010.
  • “[I]ndividuals in China were well aware of what was going on,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said, citing the investigation into the Chinese-manufactured tech, AP reports.

Where it stands: Seven current and former Aventura employees have been charged with illegal importation and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, per the Times. Two of the defendants — Jack and Frances Cabasso — face money laundering conspiracy charges.

Our thought bubble via Axios Joe Uchill: China has a reputation for domestic companies beholden to the state that frequently manipulate business relationships and technology for espionage purposes.

Go deeper: China touts dubious emotion recognition tech

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