UK bans Chinese cameras on government sites

The UK has introduced additional controls on sensitive government sites to enhance the security of their personnel, information, assets, and estate.

In light of the threat to the US and the increasing connectivity of visual surveillance systems, the UK Parliament has instructed government agencies to cease the deployment of Chinese equipment onto sensitive sites.

The technology is produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China.

“Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks materializing,” Oliver Dowden, the Conservative MP for Hertsmere, said.

Agencies have also been advised that no such equipment should be connected to the core networks. They should consider removing and replacing such devices as soon as possible, without waiting for scheduled upgrades.

“Departments have also been advised to consider whether there are sites outside the definition of sensitive sites to which they would wish to extend the same risk mitigation,” Dowden said.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee previously urged to prohibit the Hikvision-manufactured equipment since “cameras made by the Chinese firm Hikvision have been deployed throughout Xinjiang, and provide the primary camera technology used in the internment camps.”

Experts shared a common concern that cameras by companies like Hikvision in the UK collect facial recognition data and “can then be used by the Chinese government.”

Hikvision cameras worldwide:

The increasingly popular IoT cameras are exposing citizens to surveillance, no matter if the camera is Chinese or not.

Lawmakers in the US are ringing alarm bells about the Amazon Ring cameras. In one recent case, a Ring camera alert nearly killed a woman. Ring also recently acknowledged that it had shared data with law enforcement at least 11 times this year without user consent.

A year ago, cybersecurity researcher Andy Gill discovered that a well-known maker of BlackVue dashboard cameras, used to continuously record the view through the car's front windscreen, publicly broadcasted users' exact GPS location from inside their vehicles.

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