On Thursday, UK government agencies received orders to avoid putting up surveillance cameras made in China at “sensitive sites”.
The action coincides with the government taking more drastic security measures against China and its businesses. The largest semiconductor manufacturer in Britain, Newport Wafer Fab, was ordered last week to be sold to a Chinese-owned company.
A group of 67 MPs and lords called on London to outlaw the use and sale of surveillance technology produced by the two businesses in July. These items are believed to have assisted in the violation of the rights of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
A complete ban on the companies was not included in the government’s new regulation.
However, it prohibited the use of “visual surveillance systems” in Britain that were produced by companies that were obligated by Chinese legislation to share information with Beijing’s security forces.
According to the report, such cameras shouldn’t be linked to “core networks” at government agencies, and ministries should think about replacing them instead of waiting for planned updates.
According to a government evaluation, “more controls are essential given the threat to the UK and the expanding capability and interconnection of these systems,” senior minister Oliver Dowden told parliament.
“Therefore, departments have been told to stop placing such equipment in critical locations when it is made by firms that are subject to the People’s Republic of China’s national intelligence law.”
After one of the company’s cameras in June 2021 captured then-health secretary Matt Hancock kissing an assistant in breach of Covid guidelines, some specific UK ministries have already started removing Hikvision equipment. He was pushed to step down.