Hikvision: UK bans Chinese surveillance cameras from ‘sensitive’ sites.

Hong Kong
CNN business

Hikvision, a leading Chinese surveillance firm, has denied suggestions that it poses a threat to British national security after the British government banned the use of its camera systems at “sensitive” sites.

The restrictions, announced on Thursday, will prevent authorities from installing technology manufactured by companies subject to the Chinese one National Intelligence Law, 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 it was “categorically untrue to portray Hikvision as a threat to national security.”

The company said it hoped to engage with UK officials “urgently” to understand the decision, and had previously spoken to the UK government to clear up what it saw as misunderstandings about its business.

“Hikvision is an equipment maker that has no visibility into end-user video data,” the Hangzhou-based company said. “Hikvision cannot access the video data of end users and cannot transmit data from end users to third parties. We do not manage end-user databases, nor do we sell cloud storage in the UK.”

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said in a statement to the UK parliament on Thursday that after a safety review, government departments were instructed to stop using equipment made by companies subject to the UK law. national intelligence.

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

Government departments have also been asked to do so consider whether to “remove and replace such equipment where it is installed on sensitive sites rather than waiting for any scheduled upgrades,” it said. The minister added that departments could check whether sites not deemed sensitive should also take similar measures.

The move comes months after British lawmakers called for a ban on the technology by Hikvision and Dahua, another Chinese surveillance camera maker, citing allegations that the companies were involved in enabling human rights abuses against Uyghurs in the country. Xinjiang.

The US placed Hikvision and other Chinese companies on a trade blacklist in 2019, banning them from importing US technology over similar allegations.

In a statement released in July by Big Brother Watch, a British non-profit group that investigates the use of surveillance systems, 67 members of Britain’s parliament said Chinese companies should be banned from selling their products in the country.

The Big Brother Watch said at the time that it had “found that the majority of public bodies use CCTV 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 universities and UK police forces”.

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

Hikvision, in its statement, said its cameras complied with UK laws and were “subject to strict safety requirements”.

Dahua did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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