Warning: Panasonic i-PRO Deceives About NDAA Compliance

By Conor Healy and John Honovich, Published Aug 18, 2020, 10:30am EDT (Info+)

IPVM has determined that Panasonic i-PRO has deceived about its NDAA compliance. In fact, the company has products that use Huawei Hisilicon chips, IPVM has verified, while the company deceived about this.

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The company has refused to share a list of Panasonic products that continue to use Huawei Hisilicon chips. We urge Panasonic users subject to the NDAA to carefully consider what to do.

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Comments (33)

This is no good. To be clear, is this only a potential legal issue for Panasonic users and not Panasonic itself? That's kind of annoying because it's Panasonic who's playing games, not the integrators or end-users.

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This is really not good!! Our company markets directly to the US Government.. and contracting officers are obligated to follow the FAR only... not understanding the details of technology system design. This is not good..

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This is quite upsetting news.

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Most camera manufacturers have known about Panasonic for more than 2-3 years.Their relationships, ect.....

They are not the only major camera company doing same. May want to check a few more "major camera companies". YOUR Word today does not mean what it meant years ago. There was an old saying," Your word is your bond". Not today.

It only affects the SI if they are selling to any company, agency, city state or DoD that must must meet NADA guidelines. SI must know what they are selling, not what someone says they are selling.

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As for whether it's a potential legal issue for Panasonic, in theory NDAA-compliant manufacturers (even if only partially compliant) could take Panasonic to court for diluting their business with misleading advertising, per 15 U.S.C. § 1125 (the Lanham Act). I suspect that would be a difficult case to win, though. Excerpt below if you're interested.

15 U.S.C. § 1125 - False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden

(a) Civil action

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities,

shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

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We dumped the Panasonic line corporate wide ~2 years ago (previously was a corporate standard..Panasonic's were everywhere) Looks like we made the right call.

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We believe that Panasonic isn't the only brand deceived. Would IPVM be interested in providing a list of brands which are not compliant with NDAA so that it's helpful to SI to have an overview and avoid using those products with deceived/misleading advertisement?

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Panasonic I-Pro President just sent out an email regarding the article:

To Our Valued Partners, Customers, and Team Members,

This morning, IPVM released an article regarding Panasonic i-PRO’s NDAA-compliant statement. In the spirit of transparency and good-faith business practices, we stand by our position that i-PRO-branded cameras are NDAA compliant. We take this matter very seriously; therefore, prior to providing our statement, we consulted with SIA, compliance, and outside legal counsel to ensure the proper interpretation of the legislation as it applies to our i-PRO camera line.

Panasonic i-PRO will not allow ourselves to be labeled as “deceptive” due to an outside media outlets own opinion and interpretation of the law, and we will continue to defend ourselves against this and other attacks. Panasonic i-PRO would be happy to engage with all industry professionals, and we have an exciting roadmap and future. We are committed to, and focused on, our partners and end users and will answer any enquiries they may have openly and candidly. For those valued partners that attended our 2019 Partner Summit, we committed to you that, not only will our i-PRO line be 100% non-Hisilicon by the end of March 2021, but many of our products will also be TAA compliant.

IPVM ImageHisilicon notice from the November 2019 Partner Summit.

Additionally, Panasonic i-PRO was clear in our communication stating, "The Advidia camera lineup is not fully NDAA compliant at this time. We are working with our 3rd-party manufacturers to ensure full NDAA compliance by March 2021."

Again, we went through the appropriate process to provide our statement regarding NDAA compliance. We stand ready to answer any and all questions you may have, and we remain committed to supporting you in any way necessary. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local sales representative or members of the leadership team.

Thank you for being a valued partner and customer. We appreciate your business.

Respectfully,

IPVM Image

Bill BrennanPresidentPanasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corporation of AmericaWilliam.Brennan@us.panasonic.com

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#7, thanks for sharing. Btw:

we consulted with SIA

Sigh...

For those valued partners that attended our 2019 Partner Summit, we committed to you that, not only will our i-PRO line be 100% non-Hisilicon by the end of March 2021

So if you did not attend their private Partner Summit, you don't get to know?

Panasonic could have saved themselves from this by being upfront with the public and IPVM immediately.

Unfortunately, that statement still does not answer the key question of which Panasonic products use Huawei. This is something users need to know today as the law when into effect last week and was known for 2 years.

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SIA consulted? John, you and the IPVM team should take SIA to task (again) and make them defend the position that Panasonic has put them in. That would be an interesting angle, since they’ve been so <sarcasm> candid and provided such clarity on their own position with these NDAA-banned companies.

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I reached out to SIA last night asking them to confirm their position on Huawei Hisilicon chips. I will update if/when they respond.

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SIA has responded on Panasonic's claim that Panasonic consulted with SIA on Panasonic's declaration that Huawei Hisilicon is not covered by the NDAA, demuring:

SIA does not provide legal advice to companies on regulatory compliance matters. However, we have published several analyses of Sec. 889 and rules implementing its Part A, Part B, and Grants and Loans requirements. The significant ambiguities in the language of Sec. 889 and its implementing rules raise a number of open questions that require legal analysis and interpretation

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Who do you think made the Advidia cameras you are discussing? Advidia? How about Dahua.

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Advidia is a mixture of Dahua, Hikvision and ACTi. The first two obviously are not NDAA compliant. They are in process of switching all lines to ACTI oem's.

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Thanks for posting this.. we are a Panasonic partner out of Atlanta and it appears that someone is off the mark.. If it is Panosonic, we expect clarity. If it is IPVM we expect an apology.. do the right thing!!!

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#2, think about Panasonic's statements:

(A) We're getting rid of all Huawei in 7 months

(B) The NDAA totally allows Huawei.

Why get rid of it then? Just keep and take the competitive advantage in lower costs vs rivals.

This is what is wrong from Panasonic:

due to an outside media outlets own opinion and interpretation of the law

This is not us. This is what a spokesperson for the US government told us. And this is what Panasonic's largest competitors are saying as well.

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John is right!

Panasonic has known about the chip sets, in fact more than their chip sets, their relationship with couple of companies in China for some time.

The response back from Panasonic was probably co-written with their attorneys and lacked credibility in my opinion.

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[IPVM Note: This person is joking]

Did I read “Panasonic USA will fully defend and indemnify any reseller who uses a Panasonic i-Pro camera on a US Federal project, Federally funded project or other and are legally challenged over compliance with the 2019 NDAA part 889”

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#8, I added a note that you are joking to avoid any confusion. We will check if they will do so but they have not given any indication that they would take this step.

I get your implied point that if this is their position that's what they should do...

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You are correct and there is no way a manufacturer would assume that risk.

So, the risk is on the contractor entirely?

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As a large user of Panasonic cameras, we disassembled a WV-S6130 camera. It uses a Sony Xarina chip.

Lets hope Panasonic will give us a list of which cameras use the Huawei chip so we don't have to inspect every model.

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In the ban there is probably some leeway time for companies, which probably allowed for a corporate action plan to be in place by such date to be compliant rather than completely gone from manufacture or stock existence. Yes maybe the existing cameras are non compliant, but the company itself is probably still complaint. The list is certainly needed.

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In the ban there is probably some leeway time for companies

Yes, everyone had 2 years from the date of signing the NDAA into law in 2018.

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In conversations I have had over the past two years, with both inside and outside Panasonic sales reps, there seems to be

1 a fundamental misunderstanding of the scope of the NDAA ban, including Hisilicon chipsets.

2 a lack of taking the NDAA ban seriously, no urgency or effort to comply.

3 denial of the impact of the ban, expecting to find loopholes.

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I know it's a smaller name but Avycon did the same to me. Asked if they were NDAA compliant and they sent a signed letter from their CEO stating they had no cameras made/rebranded/oem from Hik or Dahua. After asking them a few more times they finally said they were using the HiSilicon chip.

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I recall that Avycon letter. I don't think Panasonic wants to be like Avycon...

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Over the last 4 years we have sold over 30,000 Panasonic cameras, you can only imagine the mini stroke I had when this story broke.

I immediately went to our warehouse and dissassembled the following cameras WV-S2131L, WV-2231L and WV2531LN which constitutes 90% of our sales over the years.

I was elated to find a Sony Xarina chip in all three.

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Greg, thanks for sharing! To that end, Panasonic would really help itself releasing a list to clarify for buyers and users.

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I-Pro President follows up this morning:

Valued Partners and Customers,

After reading the feedback and comments to the message we sent out Tuesday, I wanted to follow up and clarify some points and offer specific details. While Panasonic i-PRO would rather set our own narrative, we want to take this opportunity and use this forum to offer further insight into our direction. Since establishing Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corporation of America in October 2019, there has been a dramatic change in our organization, and we are making incredible strides to answer the needs of our channel partners and their end users. Once again, based on our thorough review of the legislation, we stand behind our original statements regarding NDAA compliance. With that said, we also respect and value the opinion and input of our partners and the market. Therefore, we will be converting the remaining cameras within the i-PRO line to a non-Hisilicon chipset by the end of FY2020.

At this time, I would like to answer some additional questions that were presented.

  1. Will i-PRO provide a list of cameras and related chipset?
    1. As many of you are aware, Panasonic i-PRO launched our new website (independent of Panasonic North America) about a month ago. The next priority is to launch our new partner portal. This is scheduled to go live in the next few weeks. Due to the fact that our products are only sold through authorized Panasonic i-PRO partners, this information was already scheduled to be available through this password-protected portal and not posted on our website. To expedite this, we are uploading this information to an existing partner portal. In the meantime, if a partner or end user requires any information regarding a specific camera, please contact your local representative, and they will be happy to support you. When ANY inquiry has been made, i-PRO has not hesitated to provide the information.
  2. What is the future strategy for Panasonic i-PRO in relation to Federal business?
    1. i-PRO is taking steps to also ensure that our most popular camera models are TAA compliant by end of FY2020.
  3. Why was this information only available to partners that attended the Partner Summit?
    1. The presentations and information provided at the 2019 Partner Summit were available to all of our authorized resellers. Our Territory Account Managers reviewed the presentation with partners that were unable to attend, and we have shared information during partner roundtables, various individual meetings, etc.
  4. What about the Advidia line of products?
    1. Panasonic i-PRO has provided the Advidia line as a low-cost solution. We have been completely transparent regarding the 3rd-party product used in this line, and we are looking to add NDAA-compliant models as soon as possible. We want to make sure that we continue to support our partners and end users who are deploying this brand. Also, we are anxious to see the traction we gain with the recently released i-PRO U-series cameras.

To our partners and customers, there is no need to dismantle a camera. Please just reach out to your representative or product manager, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Again, we are hoping to complete the partner portal within the next few weeks and will keep you posted.

I want to also thank the many partners that have reached out to provide support. We appreciate your support and value your business. I hope you and your families are all safe and sound.

Respectfully,

IPVM Image

Bill BrennanPresidentPanasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corporation of AmericaWilliam.Brennan@us.panasonic.com

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#7, thanks! We are speaking with Panasonic trying to get them to release a public list of the models.

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Where is Bill Taylor when you need a candid response? Yeah, cryptic...

It seems tone-deaf to believe that (let alone lead with) the various iterations of Panasonic matter to anyone. We just know you as Panasonic, no need to obfuscate.

Would it not be really simple to just provide a list of affected models, than to go through all these twists and turns? It's amusing, but kind of sad to watch.

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After all the double talk they gave IPVM, and Bill Brennan still insisting that Chinese chips are NDAA compliant. We as a government agency will continue to dismantle all models until Panasonic prints a list of all models and what chips are inside.

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Since I am sure you are correct, would agree 100%

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