The Security Industry Association Expels DahuaBy IPVM Team, Published Jun 08, 2021, 08:59am EDT
The Security Industry Association (SIA) has expelled Dahua for ethics violations.
In 2020, SIA adopted Ethics Principles that members agreed to abide by; failing to do so results in "punitive action, ranging from a written warning to suspension of membership to expulsion from the association."
SIA issued the following public statement on Dahua's expulsion:
In accordance with the Code of Ethics and the policies and procedures accompanying it, the SIA Board of Directors has terminated the membership of Dahua Technology.
This was included in a generic post titled "SIA Supports Ethical Uses of Security Technology". SIA declined to comment on what specific ethical violations caused the termination or whether any other manufacturers, such as Hikvision (which was similarly sanctioned for human rights abuses and banned for cybersecurity risks), were being investigated for ethical issues.
Dahua did not respond to IPVM's request for comment. If they do, we will update. [UPDATE, Dahua responded with a lengthy statement after publication. We have added it, in full, to the end of the report.]
Ethics Violations Of Dahua
While SIA did not itemize the violations, Dahua has a significant track record of ethical issues, including:
- Offering "real-time Uyghur warnings" to China police and including Uyghur detection in its SDK
- Winning contracts to build and operate Xinjiang police stations
- Co-authoring China police standards with 'Skin Color' tracking
- Failing to initially disclose one of the industry's worst hacks in 2017
- Rigging fever cameras with a secret 'compensating algorithm' (risking missed fevers)
- Faking fever camera marketing and illegally marketing unauthorized fever cams in Australia
- Touting poorly set-up fever cams at a French nursing home during the pandemic
- Falsely claiming its products are 'GDPR compliant'
While Hikvision has a track record of some similar issues (e.g. touting a Uyghur-detecting AI camera and rigging fever cams), it remains a SIA member and SIA declined to comment about whether it was investigating Hikvision too.
IPVM Reported Dahua
IPVM filed an ethics violation complaint to SIA about Dahua in November 2020, following the first findings of Dahua's Uyghur tracking and amended our report to include the Dahua "Uyghur warnings" we co-reported with the LA Times in February 2021.
Practical Impact - Reputational, Not Direct Sales
While this termination is an unprecedented move showing the serious reputational risks Dahua faces, this will not directly block Dahua from any sales. To that end, Dahua could dismiss the termination, rightly arguing that they are as relatively free (albeit restricted due to the NDAA ban) to sell to US customers as they were before they were terminated. The impending FCC ban is a different and more serious risk Dahua is protesting.
Historically, SIA has been reluctant to criticize industry participants so this is a meaningful change for the organization, showing that it is serious about ethical concerns.
Reed Reevaluating Dahua ISC Participation
Reed, organizer of ISC East and West, with SIA being the premier sponsor, told IPVM it is "evaluating Dahua's participation":
We are aware of the statement issued by SIA on June 1st, and are evaluating Dahua’s participation in ISC West and ISC East in light of these reports and the change in SIA membership status.
This is literally an unprecedented step for SIA, but a positive sign for the industry's increased awareness and commitment to holding participants to ethical standards.
UPDATE: Dahua Response
Dahua responded with the following statement, posted verbatim below:
The SIA’s decision to remove Dahua from the association for alleged failures to comply with its Code of Ethics was wrong. It was wrong on substance and the decision was reached through a deeply flawed process, and most importantly, lacked evidentiary basis. The SIA argued to us that the foundation for its decision is the fact that Dahua is on the U.S. Entity List. This strikes us as dubious for a number of reasons:
First, the decision to put our firm on the Entity List took place in 2019, yet the SIA never indicated to us that this status would prevent our continued membership. We paid our 2019, 2020 and 2021 dues and participated in the SIA activities during this period with no direct or indirect message from the SIA that our membership was at risk due to the government’s action.
Second, the Entity List by itself does not provide grounds to expel us from the association. The Entity List is not a ban on our operations in this market nor does it represent a fact-based assessment of our company’s operations. There is no due process associated with its compilation. Our company respects the right of the U.S. government to regulate its market as it sees fit. However, SIA faces no legal or regulatory risk that we know of from allowing us to continue to be a member.
Third, the action of the SIA was not based on any evidence-gathering effort. The SIA’s board claims that we are failing to meet its Principles, yet offers no proof to substantiate that charge beyond the reporting of a single outlet that brought the complaint against our company in the first place. That outlet has clearly expressed its views about our company and plainly wishes to see us banned from the market. But the fact remains that its core allegations against us are false.
For the SIA to expel Dahua without any fact-gathering sets a dangerous precedent for the industry with consequences that could go far beyond our particular business. It forecloses our ability to work with the SIA and our fellow industry members at a time when collaboration is arguably more important than ever.
As disappointing as this decision is, it does not materially impact our ability to continue to operate and provide solutions and tools that are making the world safer and more secure for our customers and for communities across America and around the world. We will continue to focus on this mission and meet the evolving needs of our customers and partners.
SIA reviewed the Dahua statement but told IPVM that it is not commenting further. A few clarifications:
- Dahua: "The decision to put our firm on the Entity List took place in 2019, yet the SIA never indicated to us that this status would prevent our continued membership." The Ethics principles were only enacted on July 1, 2020, so SIA, regardless of its stance, could not have earlier issued any warning or notice to Dahua.
- Dahua: "yet offers no proof to substantiate that charge beyond the reporting of a single outlet". While Dahua, earlier in the statement, focuses on the entity list, obviously the US government's entity listing decision is not the product of IPVM. As we noted in the report, our complaint did consist of the "Uyghur warnings" reporting but that was verified and co-reported by the LA Times, not just us.
- Dahua: "But the fact remains that its core allegations against us are false." Assuming Dahua is alluding to "Uyghur warnings" our reporting is based on substantial evidence from Dahua's own website showing their documentation for the "Uyghur warning" product that Dahua promptly deleted once we asked them for comment.
We have asked Dahua for any further response or clarification on these points.
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