Politics

Cotton, Colleagues Urge President Biden to Block Chinese Data-Sharing Platform

Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Congresswoman Michelle Steel (CA-48) today sent a letter to President Biden warning of the danger that a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled maritime data-sharing platform, LOGINK, poses to U.S. military and commercial interests. The letter detailed how the CCP could use the sensitive data LOGINK collects to increase its insight and influence over international maritime trade, port infrastructure, and possibly even U.S. military activities. The letter also asks the president to describe efforts his administration has taken thus far to counter LOGINK.

In part, the members wrote:

“The CCP could exploit their control over LOGINK to identify early trends in the movement of U.S. military supplies and equipment through commercial ports while denying other countries the same data on Chinese military assets. The CCP could gain valuable intelligence regarding U.S. supply chains and use this knowledge to imperil our supply of critical resources. The CCP can also capitalize on LOGINK data to confer commercial advantages to Chinese firms and skew the marketplace away from U.S. firms.”

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), as well as Representatives Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Brian Babin (TX-36), Ben Cline (VA-06), Eric “Rick” Crawford (AR-01), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Lisa McClain (MI-10), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), (Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Austin Scott (GA-08), Gregory Steube (FL-17), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Ann Wagner (MO-02), and Randy Weber (TX-14) joined the letter.

Full text of the letter may be found here and below.

November 30, 2022

Dear President Biden,

We write to urge you to take action to halt the spread of LOGINK, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled digital platform for maritime data-sharing.

The LOGINK logistics platform, which first spread outside of China in 2010, is both subsidized and promoted by the Chinese Ministry of Transport. It is now used by over 20 global ports and has the potential to collect massive amounts of sensitive business and foreign government data, such as corporate registries and vessel and cargo data. Most notably, many ports in South Korea and Japan, the hubs of the U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific, are already tied to a network linked with LOGINK. LOGINK is also spreading to Europe and now includes ports in Spain and Portugal. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) recently identified this as a threat to the United States and reported that the CCP plans to use LOGINK to strengthen its influence over international maritime trade and port infrastructure.

The widespread adoption of the LOGINK platform creates a strategic risk for U.S. commercial and military interests. The CCP could exploit their control over LOGINK to identify early trends in the movement of U.S. military supplies and equipment through commercial ports while denying other countries the same data on Chinese military assets. The CCP could gain valuable intelligence regarding U.S. supply chains and use this knowledge to imperil our supply of critical resources. The CCP can also capitalize on LOGINK data to confer commercial advantages to Chinese firms and skew the marketplace away from U.S. firms.

The expansion of LOGINK, if left unchecked, could give the CCP a roadmap to gain a stranglehold on the arteries of global trade and data flows, a key aim of their Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI). With the data that a global LOGINK system could provide, the CCP could efficiently identify vital transportation nodes necessary to control the physical movement of goods. This would be a disaster for American interests.

For the reasons highlighted above, we respectfully request answers to the following questions, within all applicable rules and regulations, no later than January 11, 2023:

  1. Does your administration agree that the Chinese Communist Party having access to sensitive U.S. government and military shipping data poses a threat to national security?
  2. What steps has your administration taken to protect sensitive U.S. government and military shipping data from LOGINK and other logistics management platforms run by or affiliated with potential adversaries?
  3. Has your administration identified any U.S. platforms or platforms from ally or partner nations that could serve as secure alternatives to LOGINK? If so, please list them.
  4. What actions has your administration taken to counter attempts by China at international standards-setting bodies to spread LOGINK or similar systems globally?
  5. What discussions has your administration had with allied and partner governments, particularly Japan and South Korea, on the potential threat that this system may pose to the U.S. military presence in their countries?
  6. Has your administration raised the need to halt the spread of LOGINK, or other concerns about LOGINK, as part of the administration’s current bilateral and multilateral economic efforts in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to receiving your response.

Sincerely,

____________________                                                     ____________________    

Tom Cotton                                                                            Michelle Steel

United States Senator                                                          Member of Congress

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