EU Parliament Removes Hikvision, Citing Human Rights Abuses

By Charles Rollet, Published Apr 29, 2021, 10:35am EDT

The EU Parliament voted to remove its Hikvision fever cameras due to human rights abuses, passing an amendment with 89.4% of 701 MEPs voting in favor on Wednesday.

IPVM Image

The EU Parliament confirmed to IPVM that they have already removed the Hikvision cameras.

Government recognition of Hikvision abuses grows, from US Sanctions in 2019 to Norway Ethics Council decision in 2020 to, now, the EU Parliament.

Background

The EU Parliament installed Hikvision fever cameras in 2020, Germany's DW reported last October, noting the company's human rights record in Xinjiang. The report sparked a significant outcry with various Members of EU Parliament (MEPs) calling for the cameras to be removed.

MEP's Amendment Passes

An amendment ('Amendment 30') from Dutch MEP Lara Wolters calling for the EU Secretary General to "terminate the contract with Hikvision and remove all of Hikvision’s thermal cameras from Parliament’s premises" was passed at a vote yesterday, MEP Wolters' team confirmed to IPVM. In full, the amendment reads:

IPVM Image

Highlights recent media reports that the thermal cameras in use in Parliament's premises for measuring the temperature of all persons entering Parliament are produced by Hikvision, a company importing from China and producing cameras for Xinjiang province in China; recalls that Hikvision has been accused of providing surveillance equipment to internment camps in this province; notes that there is an unacceptable risk that Hikvision, through its operations in Xinjiang, is contributing to serious human rights abuses; recalls that Parliament awarded the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Ilham Tohti for his efforts to protect the rights of the Uyghur population in China; considers the use of thermal cameras of this provider in Parliament's premises therefore to be unacceptable; calls on the Secretary General to terminate the contract with Hikvision and remove all of Hikvision’s thermal cameras from Parliament’s premises; stresses the need for the administration to be more prudent in the selection of equipment providers in the future [emphasis added]

Join IPVM Newsletter?

IPVM is the #1 authority in video surveillance news, in-depth tests, and training courses. Get emails, once a day, Monday to Friday.

The amendment was passed by an overwhelming majority of MEPs present: 627 voted to pass it, while 37 voted against and 37 abstained:

IPVM Image

Next Step: Secretary General Implements Resolution

The EU's Secretary General "will now have to implement the text's call" and "report back" later on "how it has implemented the resolution's recommendations", Lara Wolters' staff told IPVM:

the Secretary General will now have to implement the text's call, i.e. the call to remove the cameras and ensure due diligence in subsequent procurement procedures of Parliament. The Secretary-General needs to report back to the budgetary control (CONT) committee later this year on how it has implemented the resolution's recommendations, including the call regarding Hikvision. [emphasis added]

Indeed, IPVM confirmed with EU Parliament spokesperson Delphine Colard that the Hikvision cameras have already been removed.

MEP Criticizes Hikvision "Intimidation"

In a video uploaded to Twitter, MEP Wolters said "Hikvision products have no place" in Parliament and alleged Hikvision pushed back against her amendment "rather aggressively", stating "we should not give in to intimidation":

At the start of the pandemic this Parliament installed thermal cameras from a Chinese company named Hikvision. This is a company that faces well-documented accusations of supplying surveillance equipment to camps detaining Uyghurs in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. You will understand my surprise when I proposed to remove the cameras the company rather aggressively approached me and other members to withdraw this call. Let me be clear we should not give in to intimidation. I think the incident shows us the important of supply chain responsibility and responsible business conduct. Businesses that fail to respect human rights should not be part of EU supply chains. The parliament should lead by example here and I therefore repeat my position: Hikvision products have no place in this house as long as Hikvision is enabling China's campaign of repression against the Uyghurs [emphasis added]

Previously, Wolters uploaded a Hikvision reply to her proposal which stated that the "major function" of Hikvision's Xinjiang presence is "marketing and sales to local commercial distributors and installers". Hikvision also offered to connect Wolters with Pierre-Richard Prosper, the former UN ambassador Hikvision hired to investigate its human rights compliance in Xinjiang whose report on this remains secret.

No Comment From Hikvision

IPVM requested comment from Hikvision Global Communications and PR Director Karl Erik Traberg. If or when Hikvision responds, we shall update this report.

UPDATE May 11, 2021: Hikvision has officially declined to comment.

Fever Camera Problems

While these fever cameras were removed for Hikvision's human rights issues, they have serious issues themselves. As IPVM's scientific study published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics shows, many fever cameras, include Hikvision's, manipulate temperature readings. This is an ethical and practical issue for users around the world, including in the EU Parliament used such systems.

European Challenges For Hikvision

While Hikvision has received criticisms from various countries around the world, Hikvision's sales have been less impacted in Europe than in North America in the past few years.

Increasing criticisms and moves such as this in the European Parliament risk increased challenges for Hikvision in Europe.

8 reports cite this report:

Hikvision Sales Surge 40%, China Strong, US Declines But Europe Still 'Large' H1 2021 on Jul 27, 2021
Hikvision has financially rebounded from the pandemic when sales briefly...
UK CCTV User Group Warns of Ethical, Financial, Reputational, and Technical Risks of Using Dahua and Hikvision on Jul 06, 2021
Until now, the UK CCTV industry has been silent about Dahua and Hikvision's...
Eagle Eye Is Winding Down 'Partnership' With Hikvision on Jul 01, 2021
While Eagle Eye Networks has been partnered with Hikvision for years, doing...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jun 19, 2021
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video...
Italian State News Investigates Hikvision on May 17, 2021
Italian state news investigated Hikvision in a high-profile TV broadcast,...
EU Commission Keeps Hikvision Cameras, Says "Not Aware" When Purchased on May 12, 2021
The executive branch of the European Union, the EU Commission, is keeping its...
Motorola Wins French Police Body Cams After Hikvision Complaints on May 07, 2021
Motorola has won a $17.5 million contract for 30,000 French police body...
Video Analytics Manufacturer Performance Guide on May 04, 2021
This 25-page guide provides a reference for video surveillance analytic...

Comments (15)

Only IPVM Subscribers may comment. Login or Join.

"Previously, Wolters uploaded a Hikvision reply to her proposal which stated that the "major function" of Hikvision's Xinjiang presence is "marketing and sales to local commercial distributors and installers". Hikvision also offered to connect Wolters with Pierre-Richard Prosper, the former UN ambassador Hikvision hired to investigate its human rights compliance in Xinjiang whose report on this remains secret."

And it remains secret why? (Yes, it's Rhetorical-in nature)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Hikvision also offered to connect Wolters with Pierre-Richard Prosper, the former UN ambassador Hikvision hired to investigate its human rights compliance in Xinjiang whose report on this remains secret

We have asked Karl Erik Traberg and Jeffrey He multiple times over more than a year for more information on this report. None has been shared.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

I suppose they will throw them away now?

Besides the fact that it was a stupid investment in useless technology in the first place, EU Parliament now shows how careless they spend our tax money, it's easy to be politically correct with other peoples' money when you are not paying yourselves.

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

" EU Parliament now shows how careless they spend our tax money, it's easy to be politically correct with other peoples' money when you are not paying yourselves."

Our governments (Fed's, States, Locals) over here do that too...."Its always easier spending other people's money"

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

That is a good first step. If the manufacturer is not good enough for the pollies, nor should it be good enough for the masses. Looking forward to the next announcement of the total banning of hikau & all relabelled devices etc from the EU

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

And I never knew that Hikvision Europe either sold direct to end users or installed cameras! Shocking!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

Given you are a Hikvision partner, is that meant as sarcasm or a defense?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

"Given you are a Hikvision partner, is that meant as sarcasm or a defense?"

I'm going to guess sarcasm...

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

For anyone who enjoys hearing people saying “Hickvision”, this video won’t disappoint - @ 0:07, @ 0:52, @ 0:57...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

Maybe I am just showing my unconscious bias, but when I saw "Hickvision" in the above I saw it as Hackvision.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

It's absolutely ridiculous that it took this long

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

UPDATE: Hikvision responded and has officially declined to comment.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Upon reading this article I was prompted to ask, of the European Parliament via their contact us

Good morning, I note with interest that you have removed Hik thermal cameras from the Eu Parliament as they were deemed unfit for purpose.Does this mean that you will now ban them from use anywhere within the EU, also demand that they be removed, as they are unfit for purpose?

This was the reply, received 4 weeks later

The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit of the European Parliament acknowledges receipt of your message of 21 May 2021 sent to Europe Direct regarding the removal of thermal cameras in use in the Parliament’s premises.

Please rest assured that your enquiry has been read attentively.

On 29 April 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it ‘recalls that Hikvision has been accused of providing surveillance equipment to internment camps’ in Xinjiang province. Therefore, it considers the use of thermal cameras provided by the company Hikvision in Parliament's premises to be ‘unacceptable’ and ‘calls on the Secretary-General to terminate the contract with Hikvision and remove all of Hikvision’s thermal cameras from Parliament’s premises’.

There is no further information given if the European Parliament intends to demand an EU-wide ban of Hikvision thermal cameras.

However, you are welcome to contact the elected Members of the European Parliament to share your observations and questions. The European Parliament website provides a complete list of all Members under this link. Furthermore, it might be helpful reaching out to the Members of the parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

The LIBE Committee is ‘in charge of most of the legislation and democratic oversight for policies enabling the European Union to offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice’, including data protection and privacy in a digital age. More information on LIBE as well as contact details can be found here.

We hope that the provided information is helpful and thank you for your interest in the European Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Citizens' Enquiries Unit

www.europarl.europa.eu/askEP/en

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Update: the EU Parliament confirmed to IPVM it "has not issued any purchase order" for a replacement to the Hikvision thermal cameras. It is however still looking for "a more permanent solution".

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Update: Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen tweeted it is "good to see that the European Parliament has finally removed the scanners from Hikvision":IPVM Image

IPVM requested an update from the EU Commission, which unlike Parliament, decided to keep its Hikvision scanners despite MEP calls to remove them.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Loading Related Reports