3 UK MPs Call For Investigating Hikvision Over Xinjiang

By Charles Rollet, Published Feb 04, 2019, 06:53am EST

3 UK members of Parliament, including 2 with direct comments to IPVM, have called for the UK government to investigate Hikvision's Xinjiang business. This video below shows Labour MP Karen Lee remarks:

This MP has publicly called for the UK government to “speak up” about Hikvision’s surveillance contracts for Xinjiang’s infamous ‘re-education camps’ and other repressive purposes in China. The MP also questioned UK government purchases of Hikvision equipment and the “security implications” of its widespread UK use. Meanwhile, in comments to IPVM, two other British MPs called for the UK government to investigate Hikvision’s Xinjiang ties and consider sanctioning the firm.

The developments show how Hikvision’s extensive Xinjiang ties could hurt its business in the UK, where it is a leading video surveillance provider. The US is already considering Xinjiang sanctions on Hikvision (and Dahua), while international pressure against companies operating in the region is ramping up.

In this note, we examine:

  • Where and When the Remarks Were Made
  • Full Transcript
  • Other MPs Call for UK to Consider Sanctions
  • Potential Consequences for Hikvision
  • Likelihood of Sanctions
  • Branding Impact
  • Conclusion

Comments **** ** ** **********

*** ****** ******** ***** Hikvision **** **** ******** ** ***** ********* * ************* ‘******’ last ******* ****** “*** ***** ****** ********* in ********.”

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Karen *** ***** *** *********

***** ******* ******* *** debate, *********(******** *****):

* **** **** ** say * ****** ***** Hikvision, *** ** *** world’s ******* **** *********.It ******** ********* *** *** ******* ****** ***** ** ******** and has been used in Tibet to develop an extremely intrusive police and security apparatus. Hikvision uses facial recognition technology that can distinguish entire ethnic populations from the Chinese. It puts Tibetans and Uyghurs at serious risk. While the company is now subject to bans by the US and Australian Governments, Hikvision was revealed to be Britain’s biggest supplier of CCTV equipment in 2016.

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Other *** **** *** *************

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***** ***** ******** ********* against *********,****** ** ***** *********** ****:

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****** *** ******, ************* ******* ********** ******:

****** *** ********* ** companies ** ********

******** ***** ****** ******** on ************ ********** **** is **** ** *** Chinese ********** ** ******* and ******* ****** *******

******** **********, *** ******* ******** MP *** ********* *** Xinjiang ****** ** **********, told **** *** ********** should *********** ********* *** possibly *** *** **** from ********* *** ** contracts (******** *****):

* ******** ** *** much ** * *** not ***** ** ********* until ***** *** ********* it ** *** ****** but * ***** *** that *** ******* ***** business **** ****** ** expected ** ****** ** the **** ********* ********* that ** ****** ****. The ******** ************** ** human ****** ** ***** universality ** ** ** not ****** ********* *********.I ** **** **** *** ****** *** ******* **** **** ** *********** *** ******** ***** *********. If they are found to be well grounded then we would expect them to clean up their act at home before competing for contracts in the UK.

Potential ************ *** *********

*** ** ********** *** powerful ***** ** *** disposal, ************ ***** ***************** “********* *********” **** year ***** ****** ********* against******* ** *********** “***** ***** ****** abuse”. ******** ********* *******:

  • ********* ************* * ****** ** all * *******’* ** assets (*****, ********, ***.)
  • * **** ******* ******* *********, **** ** ***** import/export **** *** **** on ********** *********

**** ********* ***** *********** end *********’* ** ********. They *** **** ********* without ******* ** * vote, *******,******** *** **, **** can **********.

Possibility ** ********* / ******** **** ** **********

******* ***** **********, ** is ******* ** *** UK ********** **** **** action ******* *********. *** the ********** **** **** MPs *** *** ** the **********, *.*. **** no ****** ***** **** policy. ***** *** **** no ***** ** * coordinated ******** ** *** issue.

*** *** ** **** say **** **** ******* is**** *****, * ************ *** is ******** ** ***** for **** *** *** Pacific - ** *** the ** ***** ********** during *** ******** ******. But ************* ***** ***’* ********* about ********* *** *****:

*** ***. ****** *** Lincoln (***** ***) ****** about ********* ****, ***** is * **** ******** case. ** *** ********* aware ** *** ******* of *********’* ******** **** in ********* ****** *********** cameras *** *** ** Xinjiang. * **** ** happy ** ***** ** the ***. **** **** more ******* ***** **** [...]

**** ******* *** ** Field ***** *** ******** UK ********** ******* ******* Hikvision *** **** ****** if ** **** ****.

************, ** **** ****** that **** **** ** sanctions ************** *** *******. During *** ******, ****** MP***** **************

***** ** *** *********** discussion ********** ******** ******* ** economic ********* ** ** directed ** *** ******* leaders *** ******** *********.

Branding ******

**** ******* *********, ******* of *********'* ********** *** problematic *** *********'* ********. The ** ***** ************ industry *** **** *** of *** **** ************ Western ********** ** *********, from *** ************ ** the ******. ** *** extent **** ** ********** officials ** *********** ******** or *********** ********* ****, minimally ** ***** ***** disruption *** ******** **** of ********, ** ** has ** ***** ******* countries.

**********

*** **** **** *********’* Xinjiang ******** *** ******* up ** * ** Parliament ***** ** ********* not * **** **** for *** ****. ** shows **** ******** **** the ******** ***** ****** crisis ** ******* ******** over **** ***** ************, bringing ********* ** * company **** **** ***********, like ******** **********, *** never ***** ***** ******.

** **** **** ** difficult *** ********* ** defend *** ******** ******** to * ******* ********. Its **** ***** *** so****-************** ** *** (**********) avoided **** ********** ** the *****.

*******, ** ******* ******* if *** ******** ******** will ***** **** *** UK ********** ********* ********, particularly ***** *** ******* of * *********** ******** and *** ** ********* scene's ******* ************ ***** on ******.

Comments (17)

It was always a matter of time before this issue was raised in the UK. Let's see what action, if any, will be taken by the UK Government.

News from the UK:

This article published at The Telegraph a few hours ago:

Huawei has failed to address UK's security concerns, damning government report reveals 

Huawei is set to face fresh pressure on its long-term role in the UK as an upcoming government report will find it has failed to address security concerns raised last year.

 

And, in The Sunday Times yesterday:

Donald Trump's trade war is now a tech world war 

I would bet Intel will soon be barred from selling chips to the Chinese surveillance companies Hikvision and Dahua, which have huge government contracts relating to the the detention of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Is anyone in Washington against this? Nope. One of the marvels of our age is the speed with which Trump’s once so deplorable China-bashing has become a consensus position, with a formidable coalition of interests now on board the Bash Beijing bandwagon. They may still feel a bit squeamish about his tariffs, but suddenly every foreign policy wonk, national security nerd and cyber-war punk agrees with the president: China is the new threat to America.

It’s as if the entire policy community simultaneously woke up to the strategic implications of China’s technological advance. In other words, even if Trump does call off the trade war, the tech war will go on. Too many people are now invested in it.

"Paging Mr. de Chateau.... Mr. Jonathan de Chateau.  White courtesy telephone please."

I’d be more amused by a public comment, undisclosed is the easy road.

Maybe you are confused but I am not a UK citizen. I’m surprised they have time for anything else than Brexit

I don't think that comment was based on you being a UK citizen or not, I know you are not, but based on your many comments favoring Hikvision on various threads. What are your thoughts now? Have the most recent developments just a small distance away from you changed your opinion at all?

Well you are right I have commented often in favour of Hikvision. But to be complete, I have not commented against any brand of cameras.

On Hik there are a few items coming up regularly:
Safety
As I have explained a few times I feel the installer should be held to a higher level of service and not have CCTV equipment determine the safety.

China Produced
True. But that point is not valid as many of not all brands produce in China, or at least use China built parts.
Here is why Apple openly admits they do.

Backdoors
Hik calls them programming errors, others call them backdoors.
I don't posess the full technical skillset that some others have so it's hard for me to judge.
Here though is a topic I started on intentional backdoors in Cisco.

Why do I post about Cisco? Because it's almost impossible to avoid tech discrenpancies and it's not just 'a Chinese thing'. I feel that the network safety issues that may have been occured by camera FW could have been avoided with a good network. Unless it was built with Cisco :).

Goverment supported
That's the case for most Chinese companies, including the ones supplying chips to everyone. It's a different way of doing things, but that does not by definition make it bad.

Xinjiang
Now that's a though one. While Hikvision doesn't make buildings they seem to have taken on the contract to oversee work that was done in the province. How much was voluntary we don't know and we don't fully understand it.

All the existing sentiment makes it harder to have a clear view it seems.

If the state of NY payed Avigilon to create a face regocnition system right after 9/11, in order to monitor all Muslims to be sure no illegal immigrants or known terrorist can go unseen, I am sure some would understand the reasons.

Because China is quiet about the real reasons and the real measures, it's hard to have the complete story.

"Because China is quiet about the real reasons and the real measures, it's hard to have the complete story."

you are right about that.  because the complete story (minus Chinese govt censorship) would most probably be far worse than what can - and has - already been determined to be occurring in the region in question.

"How much was voluntary we don't know and we don't fully understand it."

"Hik calls them programming errors, others call them backdoors.
I don't posess the full technical skillset that some others have so it's hard for me to judge."

"It's a different way of doing things, but that does not by definition make it bad."

your manifesto above is littered with these kinds of passive/aggressive phrases that seek to distance you from having any solid position on anything.

i.e. you are not actually debating any points, you are simply stating that you dislike the journalistic position of IPVM -- at least in their reports on Hikvision. 

am I right?

No, you are not right. But I'm not looking for an in depth discussion on it either.

It simply amazes me that large issues like the Cisco leak to Prism and NSA go without any scrutiny. Given the use of Cisco hardware it surely impacts the security business.

If passive agressive is all I can get across I feel not replying is better. John must be happy :)

yeah, I think I'm right.  ;)

deflection has little value in conversations/debates.

hikvision is the largest player in the video surveillance industry.

Cisco is not (even close).

This is a good day for you! You get to decide how I think, ignore my point and feel good about yourself!

But then again, anyone can claim it because of the befamed undisclosed :)

Please feel free to comment more and relish the moment, I'm out as far as the conversation is concerned (and yes you can interpret it any way suits you best)

I don't think it's really fair to call out someone speaking out as UD.

Many companies have social media policies which prevent employees from being identified while posting on public forums.

Jonathan,

Just so you know, I really do appreciate hearing a different viewpoint on these topics, whether or not I agree with it. Hearing both sides helps me see things more clearly and formulate a better understanding.

Thanks!

(Now watch me be yet another "Undisclosed")

Jonathan,

interesting observation. I created a new discussion on it: How Much Of Hikvision's Xinjiang Concentration Camp Work Was 'Voluntary'?

Jonathan I had to select disagree as I think you are still missing the point. There is no question about whether the contribution by Hik was voluntary as they most likely had no say in it being Chinese Government owned and they simply toed the line.

Comparing the 'ethnic cleansing' the Chinese Government are still executing with the State of NY hypothetically deploying a face recognition system trying to catch some who blew up a building doesn't fly in my book.

Of course Hik calls back doors programming errors, did you really expect that they would ever admit to back doors? The beauty of IPVM is that you don't really need to have the skill set(s), leave it to the experts IPVM deploy and simply read their conclusions carefully.

Yes many companies manufacture in China nowadays but how many of those are controlled by the Chinese State? You can't really generalize like that.

I disagree on your 'safety' comment. Every manufacturer should have at least some responsibility to make sure that equipment and software/firmware that leaves their hands is fit for purpose. You state that you like to take care of the symptoms rather than fight the cause, I'd prefer it the other way.

Hik have been experts in denying firmware issues until such time they were published on here in a way they could no longer afford to keep their heads in the sand.

I do appreciate your opinion and I think I noticed a slight change in your stance with that latest post.

I think you mean Mr. Tim Pickles...

Update:

MP Alistair Carmichael publicly called out Hikvision during a 'debate' on Feb 7 where MPs questioned Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, about human rights in new UK trade agreements:

The persecution and mass incarceration of the Uyghur community in the Xinjiang province of China is facilitated by companies such as Hikvision, which manufactures and supplies much of the surveillance equipment that is used there. Hikvision has an expanding presence in this country. Can the Secretary of State assure me that the trade deals that we might have post Brexit will not encourage trade of that nature?

Fox's response was very vague, however:

As I have said, any future trade agreements that we have beyond the European Union will be subject to public consultation, to debate in this House and, I hope, to rigorous processes that I may set out in due course about how we can increase scrutiny of those agreements. Members across the House will place different types of emphasis on different constituencies and different sectors of the economy, but I think that the whole House will share those concerns about ethics. 

UPDATE: MP Alistair Carmichael and 8 other MPs have sent a letter to Mark FieldMinister of State for Asia and the Pacific, referencing Hikvision. The letter, dated March 19, asks what the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans to do to "tackle the issues raised" regarding the situation in Xinjiang. The letter states:

"Furthermore, we share the concerns raised by Karen Lee MP about the role of Hikvision in the UK. Hikvision has been used in Tibet to develop an intrusive police and security apparatus. The system uses facial recognition technology which can distinguish minority groups from 'ethnic' Han Chinese populations. The sophistication of this technology and its sinister use is a serious cause for concern when considering Tibetans and Uyghurs' safety and security.

What assessment has the FCO made of these security concerns, particularly in light of the fact that Hikvision was the biggest supplier of CCTV equipment to the UK in 2016?"

 

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