Australia and French National TV Investigate Hikvision, Australia Military To Remove Hikvision Cameras

By Charles Rollet, Published Sep 12, 2018, 07:24am EDT

An Australian National TV investigation on Chinese video surveillance has put a spotlight on Hikvision, including a promise from Australia's defense department to remove all other identified Hikvision cameras across Australia's military.

au fr investigate hikvision

The in-depth report comes only two days after a French national broadcaster released a show about Hikvision USA centering on fears of Chinese state espionage and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

The media reports, both from flagship national broadcasters, cite the recent US government ban on both firms’ products as triggering heightening scrutiny of Hikvision and Dahua equipment worldwide. In this post, we summarize the broadcasts, their immediate impacts, and what they mean for Chinese video manufacturers’ global ambitions.

Australian Military Removes Hikvision Camera, Says Will Remove All Others

On September 12, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s national broadcaster, released an episode titled “Chinese Video Surveillance Network Used by the Australian Government.

ABC revealed the presence of a Hikvision camera at the Edinburgh Royal Australian Air Force base. The Australian military considers the Edinburgh base "the centre of the nation's military intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare capabilities".

The ABC report caused Australia’s Defence Department to remove the camera. "Should any further cameras be identified they will also be replaced," Defence told the ABC. IPVM confirmed with the ABC that Defence was referring to all Australia's military, not just the Edinburgh base.

Other ABC Revelations

ABC also revealed the presence of a Dahua camera at the entrance of an office building housing highly sensitive Australian government agencies, including the Department of Home Affairs (which handles immigration and border control), the attorney general, and an intelligence agency.

Join IPVM Newsletter?

IPVM is the authority on physical security technology including video surveillance, access control, weapons detection and more. Refusing to accept advertising or sponsorships, over 15,000 subscribers globally trust and pay for IPVM's independent reporting and research.

Enter your email to get notified of new shootouts, tests, investigations, online shows and more.

ABC found that this Dahua camera and another had a field of view including the Department of Prime Minister building and other top-level government agencies. ABC also raised concerns about an Australian Federal Police contract with a well-known Hikvision distributor and Hikvision/Dahua equipment in state and local offices and a train station.

Watch the ABC Australia 10-minute broadcast:

Hikvision Minority Analytics Mentioned / IPVM Cited

ABC also cited IPVM’s report about Hikvision’s minority analytics and mentioned the company’s alleged complicity in human rights abuses in Xinjiang province, which have resulted in the US government considering separate sanctions.

Australia-China Spying Context

For context, it is worth noting that China has a long history of espionage in Australia where it is reportedly "the most active foreign intelligence actor." Due to this history, Australia banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei from taking part in the country’s national 5G rollout and even revamped its national intelligence laws.

French State TV Covers Hikvision USA

Two days before ABC’s episode, major French state broadcaster France 2’s Washington bureau released a show about Hikvision’s troubles in the US titled “The USA: Under the Eye of Chinese Cameras.”

France 2’s report summarized the previous revelation that Hikvision cameras were at the US embassy in Kabul and the subsequent federal purchasing ban of Hikvision products. It also interviewed national security expert James Lewis raising concerns about firmware updates being exploited to access video for intelligence purposes.

No Mention of Hikvision France

France 2 did not report anything new that hasn’t been reported elsewhere about Hikvision. Most notably, it did not cover Hikvision or Dahua’s activities in France, which are considerable. As covered by IPVM, the French national police recently signed a contract for over 10,000 Hikvision body cameras.

Hidden Camera Used to Get Comments

Interestingly, France 2 said it was not granted official comment about Chinese state espionage from Hikvision USA, so it asked a Hikvision employee about the issue using a hidden camera.

The Hikvision employee claimed it was “technically impossible” to send video surveillance footage from Hikvision cameras to China because it would cause existing alarm systems to go off while the Chinese government has much more effective ways of conducting espionage than exploiting security cameras.

China-France Espionage Background

Chinese state espionage is less of a national fear in France, which has not banned any Chinese firms from participating in its economy. However, France isn’t immune to such concerns, and recently put two former French spies on trial for treason for allegedly being Chinese double agents.

Overall Impact: US Government Ban Heightening Scrutiny Worldwide

The common thread between the ABC and France 2’s reports is that both were centered on the US’ federal purchasing ban of Hikvision and Dahua equipment.

It is not surprising that following the ban, national security agencies and media organizations around the world are heightening scrutiny of these companies’ products. Although no countries have followed suit yet, it is possible other countries pass bans similar to those of the US, severely hampering Hikvision and Dahua’s global expansion efforts.

Steep Stock Price Drop

Both Dahua and Hikvision suffered steep stock price drops in today's trading, now each at 52-week lows:

How much of the drop is due to the Australia and France TV investigations vs yesterday's news about the Trump administration considering sanctions against Dahua and Hikvision is difficult to determine. However, the combination of these moves are clearly creating challenges for the companies.

16 reports cite this report:

New Zealand Ministry Excludes Hikvision Over Human Rights Abuses on Aug 11, 2022
A government ministry in New Zealand has publicly announced that it will...
UK Ministry of Defence "Guidance Is Not To Use / Install Hikvision" on Nov 22, 2021
The UK Ministry of Defence has quietly issued guidance "not to use/install...
Video Surveillance Trends 101 on Dec 24, 2020
This report examines major industry factors and how they could impact video...
Chilean Official Investigated for Motorola And Hikvision Contracts on Sep 17, 2020
A corruption investigation is underway in Chile after a crime prevention...
Ireland National Children's Hospital Chooses Hikvision End-to-End With Facial Recognition on Dec 05, 2019
The world's most expensive hospital project ever, the New Children's Hospital...
US Government Ban of Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei Takes Effect Now on Aug 13, 2019
The 'prohibition on use or procurement' of Dahua, Hikvision and Huawei...
Australia Security Full Show Report on Jul 25, 2019
IPVM went to Australia attending the 3 days of the Australia Security...
UK Installer CCTV Aware - Flat Pricing, No Salespeople on Apr 10, 2019
This is a different kind of company. They do flat pricing, they do not have...
Dahua Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 01, 2019
Dahua favorability declined, in IPVM's 2019 integrator favorability series,...
Hikvision 2018 Revenue Tops $7 Billion USD But Growth Slows To Low on Feb 15, 2019
Hikvision's annual revenue topped $7 billion for the first time in 2018,...
The 2019 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 10, 2018
The 300 page, 2019 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covers the key events...
PRC Government Increases Hikvision Ownership on Nov 12, 2018
The PRC government - Hikvision's controlling shareholder - is increasing its...
Hikvision Parent Conducts Communist Party Training, Urges Strengthened Party Leadership on Oct 30, 2018
Employees of Hikvision’s parent (CETHIK, for CETC HIKvision) underwent...
Hikvision Growth Declines Q3 2018 on Oct 22, 2018
Hikvision's growth continues to decline in 2018 going from: Q1 - 33% Q2 -...
"New Zealand Govt Uses Chinese Cameras Banned In US", Considers Security Audit on Oct 12, 2018
Newsroom NZ has issued a report: "NZ Govt uses Chinese cameras banned in...
PRC Government Praises Hikvision For Following Xi Jinping on Sep 17, 2018
The PRC government council responsible for managing China's state-owned...
Comments (23) : Subscribers only. Login. or Join.
Loading Related Reports