UK bans Chinese surveillance cameras on ‘sensitive’ sites


CNN Business in Hong Kong –

Hikvision, a major Chinese surveillance company, has denied suggestions it poses a threat to British national security after the British government banned the use of its camera systems in “sensitive” locations.

The sanctions, announced Thursday, will prevent authorities from installing technology produced by companies under China The National Intelligence Act, which requires Chinese citizens and organizations to cooperate with the country’s intelligence and security services.

In a statement to CNN Business on Friday, Hikvision said that “presenting Hikvision as a threat to national security was categorically wrong.”

The company said it was looking forward to contacts with UK authorities to understand the “immediate” decision, and had previously spoken to the British government to clarify what it considered a misunderstanding of its activities.

“Hikvision is a device manufacturer that has no insight into end-user video data,” said the Hangzhou-based company. “Hikvision has no access to end-user video data and cannot pass on end-user data to third parties. We do not manage end-user databases nor do we sell cloud storage in the UK.”

In a statement to the UK Parliament on Thursday, Cabinet Office Secretary Oliver Dowden said government services had been ordered to stop deploying equipment produced by companies subject to national intelligence law following a security investigation.

Dowden mentioned “the threat to the UK and the growing capacity and connectivity of these systems”, without specifying more.

Government services have also been informed Consider “removing and replacing equipment where it is deployed in sensitive locations rather than waiting for planned upgrades,” he said. The minister said the ministry could consider taking similar measures for sites not considered sensitive.

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The move comes months after British lawmakers banned technology from Hikvision and another Chinese surveillance camera maker, Dahua, citing allegations the companies were involved in facilitating human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The United States placed Hikvision and other Chinese companies on a trade blacklist in 2019, barring them from importing U.S. technology due to similar allegations.

In a statement released in July by Big Brother Watch, a British non-profit organization that investigates the use of the surveillance system, 67 members of the British Parliament said Chinese companies should be banned from selling their products in the country.

Big Brother Watch said at the time that “most public authorities have been found to use CCTV cameras made by Hikvision or Dahua, including 73% of councils in the UK, 57% of secondary schools in England, 6 out of 10. National Health Service Trusts, as well as UK universities and police forces.

Earlier this year, a UK health minister revealed that there were 82 Hikvision products in use in his department.

In its statement, Hikvision said its cameras comply with UK law and are “subject to strict safety requirements”.

Dahua did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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