Chinese biometric surveillance camera vendors in West take cases to the media and courts
To date, the reaction in China to mounting government actions toward its biometric surveillance industry has been comparatively muted. Here is a roundup showing how that has changed.
Typically, China’s autocratic leaders and surveillance system makers’ CEOs have expressed displeasure whenever a Western economy has acted to reduce or eliminate biometric system importation from China.
They are reacting to politicians and human rights advocates who have accused surveillance system makers of profiting from oppression of Chinese minorities, of having ties to the authoritarian Communist Party and of secretly capturing private data that, being intermediaries, the Chinese companies should not be accessing.
Hikvision, a ubiquitous CCTV camera maker, is an example of an emboldened Chinese vendor who no longer is willing to sit quietly while a row blows over. (This is not unprecedented, according to camera industry trade publication IPVM.)
IPVM last week published court documents filed by Hikvision USA with the U.S. appellate circuit court in the District of Columbia accusing the Federal Trade Commission in acting unconstitutionally in banning sales this month by Hikvision (and Dahua) over national security concerns.
Meanwhile, Hikvision has mounted an influence campaign in the United Kingdom. Executives are alerting taxpayers to the fiscal irresponsibility of government officials who want to rip out Hikvision hardware.
They claim that doing so will cost £800 million, or US$970 million. It is an argument that wilts when considering the billions of pounds the UK spends to counter China’s growing military threat.
Still, according to IPVM, the government has erased provisions written into a bill earlier this year. Proponents of the bill say they will reintroduce the legislation.
Last, there is news, not unexpected, that some companies in the democratic West have invested in the very Chinese organizations considered by some a threat.
This is Money, a financial news publisher based in the UK, says that major financial firms have put the money of savers and small-time investors into Hikvision, Dahua and Huawei.