Hikvision USA Exhibiting At GSX 2022, ASIS Silent
Although NDAA banned, sanctioned, and declared a national security threat, Hikvision USA is exhibiting at GSX 2022 with event organizer ASIS refusing to comment.
In this report, we examine the ethical issues involved with allowing Hikvision to exhibit at GSX and ASIS's refusal to comment.
40' x 30' Booth At GSX 2022
Hikvision USA will have a large 40' x 30' sized booth at GSX, held in Atlanta, GA from September 12-14, 2022, the show's exhibitor floor map shows:
Notably, PRC China competitor Dahua is not listed as an exhibitor on the GSX 2022 map.
Hikvision will pay ASIS more than $60,000 USD for the 40' x 30' booth. Exhibitors will pay $52 per square foot and $375 per corner for space, according to an ASIS GSX presentation.
ASIS Asked to Comment 5X
IPVM contacted ASIS, including Communications Director Andy Cutler, CEO Peter O'Neil, and the PR team, regarding this issue five times, (March 9, 14, 22, 29 and April 12) and received no reply. However, on March 31, 2022, ASIS did respond to IPVM when we reported on ASIS's failed attempt to block BEPP from becoming a standards developer.
IPVM also contacted ASIS International President Malcolm Smith and President-Elect Timothy McCreight on LinkedIn after failing to receive answers from ASIS. Neither Smith nor McCreight responded to IPVM.
Faces FCC Ban, "Threat to National Security"
Hikvision is exhibiting at GSX despite the passage of the Secure Equipment Act last fall, which mandates the FCC block new equipment authorizations from Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei, ZTE, and Hytera "not later than 1 year" from November 2021. Hikvision was banned from US government use by the NDAA since 2018, but the Secure Equipment Act will apply to the private use of such products.
Hikvision, and other covered entities, have been strongly contesting the legitimacy of being considered "covered." However, there was strong bipartisan support and congressional rhetoric on blocking out Hikvision and Dahua from the US due to security and human rights issues.
The FCC also deemed Hikvision a "threat to national security" in March 2021. The company was added to the list deeming the company to "pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States."
In May, the FT reported that the US government is considering further sanctions against Hikvision which would effectively ban US entities, such as ASIS, from doing business with Hikvision.
Denying Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang
Hikvision has also continued to deny its participation in human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, despite clear evidence that Hikvision was directly contracted to build and operate police projects, according to Hikvision's own financial disclosures.
Hikvision alternatively has said that it did not "knowingly or intentionally" abuse human rights despite tenders showing Hikvision involvement in mosque and re-education camp surveillance.
Recently, the company has also refused to answer questions about its involvement and activities in Xinjiang from UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner Fraser Sampson. Hikvision refused to answer because the company was concerned "commercially sensitive information" would be involved.
The financial upside for ASIS allowing Hikvision to exhibit at GSX is obvious. ASIS's revenue in FY 2021 fell by more than 50% as GSX was impacted and net assets have been declining for years, while executives continue to rake in $3.6 million in compensation ($280,000 per executive on average).
Ethics vs. Money
It is clear that ASIS has chosen ethics over money by allowing Hikvision to exhibit at GSX 2022. The various bans against Hikvision in the US, evidence of Hikvision's part in human rights violations, and the threat posed by the PRC firm to US national security are each reason enough to prohibit the company from exhibiting.
Further, ASIS refuses to explain why they believe Hikvision should be allowed at GSX, hindering transparency to the public.