UK MPs call for Chinese CCTV manufacturer bans

Members of the UK parliament have called for a ban on the sale and use of Hikvision and Dahua surveillance cameras in the UK due to alleged human rights abuses.

67 UK MPs and lords called on the UK government to ban both Hikvision and Dahua surveillance equipment due to reports that link the companies with human rights abuses in China. 

A July 2021 report published by the UK Foreign Affairs Committee identifies Hikvision cameras used in concentration camps housing Uighur-Muslim inmates in the Xinjiang region of China. Chinese authorities deny the allegations, claiming the camps operate for “re-education” purposes. More than one million Uighurs and other minorities are believed to have been held at these camps

The report states: “Cameras made by the Chinese firm Hikvision have been deployed throughout Xinjiang and provide the primary camera technology used in the internment camps. Dr Samantha Hoffman of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Dr Radomir Tylecote of Civitas shared their concern that facial recognition cameras made by companies such as Hikvision operating in the UK are collecting facial recognition data, which can then be used by the Chinese government. Dr Hoffman said that Hikvision cameras are operating “all over London”. Independent reports suggest that Hikvision cameras are operating throughout the UK in areas such as Kensington and Chelsea, Guildford, and Coventry, placed in leisure centres and even schools

“Equipment manufactured by companies such as Hikvision and Dahua should not be permitted to operate within the UK. We recommend that the Government prohibits organisations and individuals in the UK from doing business with any companies known to be associated with the Xinjiang atrocities through the sanctions regime. The Government should prohibit UK firms and public sector bodies from conducting business with, investing in, or entering into partnerships with such Chinese firms, to ensure that UK companies do not provide either blueprints or financing for further technology-enabled human rights abuses.”

Currently, the UK government has not followed the committee’s recommendations of a ban on both companies in the UK. 

In a statement, Dahua argued that it complies with all applicable laws as required. The statement said: “Like all security tools, our technologies are subject to abuse if used inappropriately or illegally to target individuals or communities, or to invade people’s privacy. Ultimately, no security solutions company can fully control how its technologies are used by end users — we need and expect our end users to comply with all applicable local, national and international laws, regulations and conventions, just as we do. At the same time, we accept our responsibility to design our technologies in ways that mitigate the risk of abuse and maximize the likelihood of appropriate use. This includes a commitment to never develop solutions to identify a single ethnic, racial or national group. That commitment extends to every market in which we operate, anywhere in the world.”

Photo credit: Stefano Carnevali, Shutterstock 

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