Great Britain is looking part with security cameras made in China within its sensitive sites for fear that the images will be secretly recovered by Beijing. To achieve this, on November 24, the British government asked staff in its ministries to no longer install devices made by Chinese companies. Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology, nicknamed Hikvision and Dahua. It has been suggested that London City Council remove those already in place for sensitive buildings.
Cameras to spy on British government offices?
In a statement written by Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, explains that ” the government continuously reviews the security of its personnel, information, assets and property. In this connection, the State Security Group has carried out a review of the security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on state properties. “. The member of the Conservative Party specifies that ” given the threat which burdens the UK and the growing capacity and connectivity of these systems, further control is necessary “.
For several months, the British Conservative Party fight for the withdrawal of cameras from Hikvision and Dahua government offices. The two Chinese companies have long been accused of using their equipment to monitor the Uyghur community in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China. Currently Hikvision cameras are used in 15 London boroughs and Dahua in 5th. According to information from Comparitech, the British capital is the third most monitored city in the world with 73.3 cameras per 1,000 inhabitantsjust behind Taiyun and Wuxi located in China.
Hikvision, based in Hangzhou, is saddened by the accusations from London and indicates that its cameras comply with UK rules and regulations, and is subject to strict safety requirements. A spokesperson for the company, reported by South China Morning Postpointed out that ” it is categorically false to present Hikvision as a threat for national security “.
It is up to him to add it no respected institution or technical assessment has come to this conclusion. Hikvision cannot pass on end user data to third parties, we do not manage user databases and we do not sell cloud storage in the UK “. He concludes by stating that Hikvision has always been transparent about its business in the country. Currently, around 1.3 million units registered Hikvision are functional in the UK.
Britain is not the first country fear surveillance systems from China. Three years earlier, in 2019, the United States banned 28 Chinese companies specializing in facial recognitionincluding Hikvision and Dahua, from their territory.