Briefing: Chinese surveillance cameras in UK parliament spark concerns

By Chris Udemans
1 min read

Cameras linked to Chinese government stir alarm in UK parliament – The Intercept

What happened: Security firm Hikvision has provided its cameras to parliament, as well as police, hospitals, and schools around the United Kingdom, raising concerns from politicians. The company is selling its equipment through a network of corporate partners, according to The Intercept. Hikvision says its cameras can be used with facial recognition software and linked to a database of identity data, allowing them to distinguish between known and unknown individuals.

Why it’s important: Hikvision has been accused of profiting from China’s mass surveillance system, which UK politicians say makes procurement problematic. The cameras also pose national security risks when placed in parliament, they said. Like Hikvision, Huawei has been subject to scrutiny as nations around the world consider whether to let the Chinese telecommunications provider take part in 5G deployment. Hikvision is 40% state-owned, and a member of the UK parliament’s second chamber, the House of Lords, likened using the company’s equipment to having a spy in their offices. Nonetheless, the UK is an attractive market for companies like Hikvision. Similar to China, the country is highly surveilled, with one camera for every 11 people.