The Cowardly, Greedy "Leaders" of Video Surveillance - SIABy: John Honovich, Published on Nov 19, 2019
The video surveillance industry suffers from cowardly, greedy 'leaders' focused on maximizing easy money while undermining public trust.
Fake Manufacturing Ally
Last year, SIA refused to answer IPVM's simple question about fake manufacturing:
In SIA's expert opinion, if a product is produced in China but then an American company applies their label and their colors to the UI of a product, does SIA consider that product still produced in China or produced in America?
How could IPVM have known to ask SIA about the exact same scenario that Aventura execs were arrested on a year later?
Simple. Every real insider knows this has been going on widely for many, many years.
The fact SIA cowardly refused to answer is driven by the greed of our 'leaders' to let the easy money flow.
Just 2 business days after the US government alleged Aventura committed fraud, SIA suspended Aventura.
Yet more than a month after the US government alleged Dahua and Hikvision committed human rights abuses and violations, both PRC companies remain in good standing with SIA.
The difference - Aventura is finished but Dahua and Hikvision are still spending with SIA.
Insider Aventura - SIA Executive Council Member
While SIA and other industry 'leaders' would like Aventura to be a sole rogue bad actor, Aventura's Managing Director is a member of the SIA executive council.
SIA Endorsed Aventura
Moreover, just 2 years ago, amidst the crime spree the US government alleges, SIA firmly endorsed Aventura as having a "strong history as an innovative manufacturer":
And, yet, hours after the US government announced criminal charges against Aventura, SIA cowardly deleted their endorsement of Aventura.
The reality is that SIA does not really care who is actually 'innovative' so long as they are paying SIA money. Indeed, Aventura is not even the only Long Island SIA member who is a deceptive 'manufacturer', see: The Embarrassing Story of ISC West's Best New IP Camera.
Silent on Human Rights Abuses
SIA has been silent on Dahua and Hikvision human rights abuses:
On October 8th, when the sanctions first were announced, SIA gave a generic statement:
Being placed on the Entity List is a serious development for any individual, business, or organization. SIA will be communicating this decision to our members. We will communicate any decision about membership status as appropriate.
More than a month later, nothing. No decision, no stance, no explanation.
Silent on Racial Profiling Analytics
SIA has been silent on Hikvision's Uyghur ethnicity racial profiling analytics. We asked SIA repeatedly, both as media and as SIA members. Nothing.
This is an organization that cannot take a stand even against racial profiling of a group (Uyghurs) that last month SIA's own government declared were having their human rights abused by Hikvision.
Hikvision Sponsor of Honors Night
Where you can find SIA and Hikvision is hobnobbing tomorrow night as one of the sponsors of "SIA Honors Night". And from SIA's perspective what is more honorable than paying them money so they can be quiet about human rights abuses and racial profiling.
NSA Sponsor Cancelled
Dahua and Hikvision are two of SIA's largest revenue sources. These companies buy big booths, banners, and ongoing sponsorships.
The most absurd example was earlier this year when SIA accepted Dahua and Hikvision sponsorship to their Cybersecurity Forum, 11 months after the US government passed a law banning those companies for US government use for cybersecurity risks.
SIA justified it thusly:
nothing under Section 889 of the NDAA restricts the ability of affected companies to participate in any educational conferences as sponsors. We welcome the participation of SIA members and businesses which support the goal of educating the industry about cybersecurity.
Yes, Dahua and Hikvision provided an education - that SIA puts greed over US government security concerns.
SIA was so brazen that they tried to get an NSA Director to keynote the Dahua and Hikvision sponsored cybersecurity conference but the NSA Director canceled, finding a 'scheduling conflict' after he was informed of the sponsorship:
Of course, the NSA does not buy ISC booths like Dahua or Hikvision. And the Cyber Secured Forum is now shutdown.
Short-Sighted, Damaging To Trust
All of this is happening amidst an unprecedented surge in both government and privacy advocate's concerns about surveillance technology including fake manufacturing, supply chain integrity, racial profiling, etc.
Our 'leaders' like SIA's approach is incredibly short-sighted. The industry should strongly condemn these practices and build trust with the government and critics.
The future looks good, not for those like SIA who want to make money off fake manufacturing and ignoring human rights abuses, but for a better video surveillance industry that can be more committed to ethics and truth. We should be thankful for government and privacy advocate criticism that helps spur the industry to better contribute to society and be less cowardly and greedy.