CDW Sells School District 36 Low-Res, No Blackbody Hikvision Fever Cameras With Federal Funds

By John Honovich and Charles Rollet, Published Oct 01, 2020, 08:52am EDT (Info+)

Mega IT distributor CDW sold low-resolution Hikvision fever cameras with no blackbodies to a Lawrence County, Alabama school district which purchased it with almost $200,000 of federal funds.

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This raises safety risks for the school's children and its community.

This deal is arguably worse than Baldwin County half-million-dollar Hikvision deal as (1) Lawrence County purchased 80% lower resolution cameras (2) directly from CDW, a publicly-traded company that should know the risks involved in such technology.

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Comments (12)

This is so tragic that a large Technology company taking advantage of school district money.

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So far, there is the Baldwin County Project and now Lawrence County, correct?

This should be a national news story at this point.

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I am a little confused on the Federal Funding aspect and the new NDAA law. Since they purchased it prior to the law taking effect does that mean they are not beholden to the new NDAA legislation?

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Correct. The federal funding ban (2 CFR 200.216) has been in effect since August 13 and it is not retroactive.

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I look at them as a large box store and they just want the sale. They don't have the technical experts that are advising the customers on the products capabilities.... Buyer beware.

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The problem with thermal cameras is that the sensors used to take such temperature readings lack the precision necessary to establish with certainty the febrile state of the human body. The human body by its nature, in superficial, skin-level temperature reading, can give inaccurate results that are influenced by many external factors that do not accurately reveal the true state of body temperature. For example, the temperature reading of a body that comes from walking or doing any exercise exposed to the sun in the open is very different from the body temperature of the same person doing the same activity under shade, and the temperature taken from the same body doing the same activity under air-conditioned conditions is also different. To the above, we must add the great doubts about how much damage to health could be generated from the direct emission of infrared rays against the human body, specifically in the area of ​​the face and eyes (which are the areas of the body to which thermal cameras direct IR rays to take temperatures) by additional exposure to this type of radiation. But, thermal cameras show their greatest inefficiency by not detecting asymptomatic people who carry the virus in the contagious stage, since these people spread the virus even without them being aware of their status as carriers and propagators.

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Jose,

Thermal imaging devices like those used for EST are passive devices and as such they do not emit IR radiation besides the heat given off by the electric circuits when the camera is in operation an by themselves do not do damage or present a health hazard. The "blackbody" devices used with many of these setups do emit some level of IR but they are essentially acting as very accurate heaters so again no health concerns.

Most of your concerns can be mitigated by proper deployment, by those following guidance from various health agencies as well as the ISO standard.

The bigger concern you brought up is true of any temperature based screening, it only works if the person with the virus has a fever. We know not only about asymptomatic individuals but there is a statistically significant number of patients who have symptoms but no fevers (in some research this is up to 40%).

Like all security though, the best way to statistically reduce the chance of infection is to implement multiple layers and not use just one. Thermal screening is just one layer in what should be implemented and the decision as to whether to implement should be undertaken as a part of a larger analysis combined with looking at the costs and benefits.

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We buy a lot of our "IT" related stuff for resale from CDW. It's going to be my goal before end of year to have another supplier chosen.

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I love technology guru's, most have no clue. So, they have an IT guy who went to their network switch and laptop vendor and asked for thermal cameras and they bought them.

These entities, need to do a better job of research. My employer considered thermos cameras to screen for temps.

We have two nationwide integrators we utilize and a few local or regional providers. Both nationwide integrators and the regional one, all pushed these cameras on us. I shut it down simply by sending links to all of the IPVM search into them.

My previous employer, purchased thermo cameras to screen employees and visitors. Last I heard the integrator still does not have the system working properly.

Or is it that the system does not work for what they sold it as, versus as a reliable skin or body temperature screening system!

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CDW is not an integrator, nor any level of 'professional advisor'; they are not expected to evaluate 'fitness of use' when someone orders from them.Caveat Emptor. When one chooses to be one's own engineer, the results are on them.See Lincoln's commentary about lawyers representing themselves.

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True to some extent. But their sales people go all over forums telling people they sell security related equipment, too. And we're not talking a few keyboards and monitors. That was a major sale done by their CDW Government sales division, and I bet mine and your money the sales person sure as heck was "Hey, we got what you want, no problem, you can self install, it'll be fine."

I was not trying to solely to absolve the school board of culpability. They were just doing what most municipal agencies do- blow about 50% or more of taxpayer value. So yes they are definitely at fault here.

Maybe I should have made myself clearer on my initial post- I don't debate CDW having the right to sell something (and share the liability for doing it), but why am I going to buy from someone that competes against me as a security integrator? Especially one that pushes junky "security" products that are incomplete that may undercut my solutions because the price looks good on paper.

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