UK bans Chinese CCTV cameras on ‘sensitive’ government sites • The Register

The UK has ruled that Chinese video cameras have no place in government facilities.

“A review of the current and future potential security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on government premises has concluded that given the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are needed. ‘ read a statement from Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (the second most senior minister in the Cabinet behind the Prime Minister).

“The departments have therefore been ordered to stop using such devices at sensitive sites where they are manufactured by companies governed by the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China,” the statement adds.

Government agencies were also “recommended that such equipment should not be connected to departmental core networks” and that they should consider removing and replacing Chinese video cameras “deployed in sensitive locations” before planned upgrades .

Government departments were also advised to consider whether there are any sites outside the definition of ‘sensitive’ to which they might wish to apply the same policy.

The council doesn’t name companies it says pose a risk, but politicians have lobbied to ban cameras made by partly Chinese state-owned CCTV makers Hikvision and Dahua on the grounds that they are used as tools to repress the Muslim Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang Province. The USA has already banned both providers from selling their products for the same reason.

China denies its human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and Chinese tech firms consistently claim that while Chinese law requires them to do whatever Beijing requires — including surveillance — they have no ambitions beyond delivering excellent products to customers.

But concerns remain around the world that the mere presence of Chinese products creates the opportunity to map networks, which is very useful information, or that workers at Chinese vendors could be members of the Communist Party. Also worrisome is the possibility of Chinese devices being crippled by faulty software updates or even bricked on Beijing’s orders.

The UK announcement makes no mention of funding for the replacement of Chinese cameras or a timeframe for their shutdown and/or replacement. ® UK bans Chinese CCTV cameras on ‘sensitive’ government sites • The Register

Rick Schindler

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