MPs demand ban by the UK on two CCTV companies in China

A group of 67 Lords and MPs has called for the government to ban the sale of surveillance equipment from Hikvision or Dahua in the UK.

MPs demand ban by the UK on two CCTV companies in China

A group of 67 Lords and MPs has called for the government to ban the sale of surveillance equipment from Hikvision or Dahua in the UK.

There are many supporters to the party, including Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Lib Dems, and four ex-Conservative members.

Two companies have been linked to human rights violations in China, according to reports.

Both firms were asked by the BBC for their comments. Hikvision claimed that anti-CCTV "fringe organizations" had "demonized" the company.

Big Brother Watch has found that CCTV cameras manufactured by these firms are used by many UK public bodies, according to recent research.

This includes 73% UK councils, 57% secondary schools in England and six of the 10 NHS trusts.

According to civil liberties campaign group, Hikvision cameras are visible on the facades of many government departments, including the Home Office and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

These numbers are based upon replies to Freedom of Information requests sent by the group. It submitted over 4,500 requests, but less than 3 out of 10 public agencies responded.

Over a million Uyghurs, and other minorities, are believed to have been held in camps in the north-west region Xinjiang. There, allegations of torture, forced labor, and sexual abuse have surfaced.

China denied the claims and claimed that the camps were "reeducation" facilities meant to fight terrorism.

Big Brother Watch coordinates the calls for a ban. This is in line with the July 2021 Foreign Affairs Select Committee report that stated: "Equipment made by companies like Hikvision or Dahua should be prohibited from operating within the UK."

The committee discovered that Hikvision cameras were deployed in Xinjiang and are the primary camera technology used by internment camps.

The government responded by saying that it was aware of reports suggesting links between a number Chinese technology companies, including Hikvision, Dahua and human rights violations within Xinjiang.

However, it has yet to follow the recommendations of the committee for a ban on companies in the UK.

It responded to the action of the parliamentarian by telling the BBC, "We take security of our citizens and systems very seriously and have several measures in place for ensuring the integrity of our arrangements."

Parliamentarians call for a ban on Hikvision and Dahua surveillance devices in the UK. They also condemn their participation in technology-enabled human right abuses in China.

They also demand that the government commissions an independent national review on the UK's use of CCTV.

Former Conservative ministers David Davis MP and Lord Bethell, Steve BakerMP, and Damien GreenMP; Labour peers Baroness Chakrabarti, Baroness Kennedyof the Shaws; SNP Foreign Affairs Spokesperson AlynSmith; Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Madeleine Stone, Big Brother Watch's Madeleine Stone, stated that "no democracy should possess this type of surveillance tech on its streets."

Hikvision directed BBC to governance reports. It maintains that it respects human rights throughout its business operations.

It previously stated that it doesn't oversee or control the devices once they have been passed to installers. In its most recent governance report, it said that it "continued looking for best practices to prevent end users from improperly using products which could lead to interference with human right."

Dahua stated in the past that it adheres to "all applicable local and national and international laws regulations and conventions." It also states that it has not developed solutions for any particular ethnic group and will not do so in the future.

According to reports, Dahua may have created tools that could be used to identify Uyghurs.

This comes as Parliament resumes discussion on Monday of the Procurement Bill.

Big Brother Watch supported an amendment to the bill that would allow potential suppliers to be excluded due to concerns about human rights violations.

Government rejected a proposal from Fraser Sampson (biometrics and surveillance camera commissar), to include consideration for suppliers' human rights records in the rules governing police and local authorities' use of CCTV.

Prof Sampson responded to the BBC's news about the ban. He said that the people whom we trust, the police, emergency services, local authorities, and the government, must be able trust their surveillance partners.

He said, "We're now at the moment when most people would agree that there's an obligation to act."

Hikvision stated to the BBC that CCTV had always played a crucial role in the UK's fight against crime, terrorism. Hikvision is proud to play a part in this.

"The UK has fringe groups that would like to see a huge reduction in CCTV in the UK. They are open to making allegations about CCTV and would demonise Hikvision.

"Hikvision has always collaborated with government agencies to solve the UK's CCTV needs."

According to the firm, its cameras are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries they operate in. They also have to meet strict security requirements.

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