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UK government moves against Chinese-made security cameras in public sector

UK government moves against Chinese-made security cameras in public sector

The UK Government Security Group has instructed government departments to stop deploying security cameras provided by Chinese companies subject to the country’s National Intelligence Law to sensitive sites.

Oliver Dowden, chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster, made a statement in the House of Lords announcing the findings of a review by the Government Security Group of the risks of surveillance cameras implemented on government properties. The Group found that with CCTV and other advanced cameras systems increasing in capabilities and connectivity, “additional controls are required.” The statement was also made in the House of Commons.

Departments are also instructed to not connect visual surveillance equipment to “departmental core networks.” In places where they are deployed, departments should consider removing them, and making scheduled upgrades ahead of schedule if necessary to do so. Areas where security cameras from Chinese providers are deployed that are not considered sensitive sites should also be reviewed.

Affected companies include Hikvision and Dahua, two of the world’s largest security camera manufacturers.

UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner Fraser Sampson has called repeatedly for tighter controls, and criticized a lack of transparency by Chinese security camera providers. Government departments began reversing course on contracts with Hikvision earlier this year.

Sampson and government officials have also expressed concern with the camera-makers’ involvement in the repression of an ethnic and religious minority in China’s Xinjiang region.

“Government will continue to keep this risk under review and will take further steps if and when they become necessary,” the statement says.

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