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Bosch considers dumping Dahua cameras after biometric ethnicity-warning revelations

biometric identification facial recognition

Chinese companies making cameras for biometrics and public surveillance that have been implicated in human rights abuses could face a rocky road in Western markets, with IPVM (subscription required and highly recommended) reporting that Bosch is looking into the facial recognition-based “Uyghur warnings” from Dahua the publication previously revealed.

Bosch is a major vendor of Dahua-made cameras, though it ceased using the company for its U.S. products after the U.S. placed sanctions on the camera-maker in 2019. Now the company has issued a statement noting that its suppliers must adhere to a Code of Conduct, which includes the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.

IPVM points out that while Bosch is a small contributor to Dahua’s bottom line, dissociating itself from the company could damage Dahua’s perception outside of China.

Many UK councils use cameras from listed entities

The extent of the fallout remains unclear, however. Public cameras put in place by more than half of London councils were manufactured by Hikvision or Dahua, Thomson Reuters Foundation reports, despite those firms being linked to human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

Documents acquired from 32 London councils and the next 20 largest in the UK through freedom of information requests show that about two-thirds had bought equipment made by one of the two companies. Hikvision made cameras found in 28 councils, and Dahua-made cameras are owned by 7. Cameras from one or both are owned by 16 London councils.

Only one council was found to have a policy against buying certain technologies from companies based in China, but it was still discovered to be operating a Hikvision video recorder, according to Thomson Reuters.

A Privacy International representative told the publication that councils were trying to avoid public discussion of the matter.

Nine MPs wrote to the home secretary in 2019 to express concern with a report that Hikvision had been the country’s top supplier of CCTV hardware.

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