US Embassy Requires Hikvision Cameras

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 29, 2016

The US Embassy in Kabul Afghanistan has required only Hikvision cameras in a new US federal government bid.

However:

Quiz: See how well you know the relationship between Hikvision and the Chinese government with this 5 question quiz.

Bid Requirement Hikvision

The US federal bid calls for:

And only Hikvision will be accepted:

bids containing substitutions will be viewed as UNACCEPTABLE. If you are not able to deliver the line item as requested, DO NOT BID.

The cameras required are $100 - $150 commercial EXIR models:

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Those cameras are solid commercial offerings (see our Hikvision EXIR test results) common in small to medium sized businesses but, even without the Chinese government ownership, are a strange choice for the high standards of sole source justification for federal facilities.

But the US government has filed a request for that with no meaningful visible defense:


On the positive side for Hikvision, it is a great endorsement for them and their massively growing US sales and marketing organization to get locked in to US federal installations. 

On the other hand, it is a risk for the US government to be deploying Chinese government controlled surveillance cameras into high security federal facilities.

UPDATE Nov 2016

The State Department has cancelled this procurement and removed Hikvision cameras from this US embassy.

Vote - What Do You Think?

Second Poll (Updated)

By member request, here is a new second poll:

3 reports cite this report:

Hikvision Discontinuing Online Service on Dec 12, 2016
Hikvision has declared it will discontinue its Hikvision online service, just days after IPVM's Hikvision Cloud Security Vulnerability...
Hikvision Removed From US Embassy on Nov 22, 2016
Hikvision cameras have been removed from the US Embassy Afghanistan and a procurement for more Hikvision cameras has been cancelled, after IPVM's...
Pelco Matrix End Of Life - End Of An Era on Oct 20, 2016
Pelco Matrix switchers, once the pinnacle of large SD analog installations, are now literally impossible to build. The Matrix products were not...

Comments (69)

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What happened to the Buy America Act? I worked for State Department agencies for 9 years back in the late 80's and 90's. Back then Burle was the standard. Then the migrated to all Panasonic. It is a lucrative market when you start talking about maintenance and support. Things must have changed be we would get chastised for mentioning anything that was not US made. I also used to work with...

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Which BAA - there are two of them. The one signed in 1933 would most likely apply to this procurement, however, there are quick opt-outs that can be applied (In certain government procurements, the requirement purchase may be waived by the Contracting Officer or the Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA) if the domestic product is 25% or more expensive than an identical foreign-sourced...

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Maybe the guys in the movie War Dogs could organise the bids.

What do you expect from the Department of State?

It makes me wonder if the Senate or House Appropriations or Armed Services Committees might not fall out of their seats if aware of this? I support the "Buy American whenever possible" preference but in video, especially cameras it's extremely difficult to do. Given revelations of the nations most active in state sponsored hacks and back doors it has to give one pause.

Just shows the value they out in security. Kabul is a pretty safe place right...

Time for some whistleblowing.

My friend's uncle is a US diplomat... Time to make a call.

"Hikvision Achieves Risk Management Framework Certification from U.S. Army"

It means nothing to some members?

Normally I would argue the likelihood of a video data feed being viewed by foreign nationals and anything remotely actionable being discovered is slightly more than zero.

Not zero though, because of cases like this. Embassies are havens for in-country intelligence operations. Just access to the faces and times and groupings of visitors would no doubt be of substantial value to other...

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*** ***** **.

I just pray that the system is on its own, completely separate, network. If it isn't, the video feeds are the least of my concern.

The presidential library is projected to cost 1Bil for starters...chump change for those donating...

Makes me a tad nervous to use Hikvision knowing the involvement that the Chinese government has with Hikvision.

And now for everyone else to connect the dots.

Given all the Chinese funding and R&D, you know that the HIK firmware is riddled with back doors. I mean, put it together: 1) if the NSA can do it with Cisco, Dell and so many other makers; 2) the NSA tools just got taken by someone, perhaps Russia, and 3) the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and others are all aligning, then: 4) the US might...

*** **** **** ** *** *****, ******* *** *********, *** let***.******.******* ** *** ***** ****'* ****** ***. *****.

"..let www.shodan.io serve as the State Dept's global VMS"

That was funny :)

...their massively growing US sales and marketing organization to get locked in to US federal installations.

And throw away the key ;)

I keep waiting for HikVision to announce Eric Snowden as their Pitchman...

I keep waiting for HikVision to announce Eric Snowden as their Pitchman...

Or his brother ;)

Please contact me when you do an Embassy job and they give you a "static IP" or port for your outside connection.

What is reason for the applicant's sole source justification?

According to the document you linked to above, Mr. Stephen Cunningham signed off on this request to use 'Other Than Full And Open Competition' - and he gave his reasoning as follows:

The cameras are being used to monitor the inside of network closets and server rooms as part of a security/accountability...

*** 'Information ********** ***** ****** ******* ***** ** ****' (whomever they are) is the 'agency' mandating the use of this particular brand and model camera. This 'agency's' claim is that they can **** ****** *** ******** ** ***** ********** ************* ***** ************* ********** - ***** ******** ***** **** one ***** *** ***** ****** - *** **** ***** ********:"If ******* ***** **** ** ** ****, ** ***** *** ** **** ** ****** *** **** ***** ** ********."

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***** ************ **** * ******* ******* **** **** ********* ** classified ***********.

** ********* **** ***** *** ** *** **.... ****** **** go ** **** *** *** ******* ********** *****? :)

Hikvision coming to a NSA, CIA, MI6 or MI5 near you.. lol

Something to think about in regard to Foreign Manufactures introducing products to the US Federal Government market is how it fits into Information Assurance (IA). IA has effectively killed numerous products from entering service in the US DOJ/DoD. I guarantee that the HikVision products are not IA compliant (https://ia.signal.army.mil/docs/p52001r.pdf).

In anycase - this is going...

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This should be leaked to the mainstream media.

That moment you see John Honovich on Fox News...

Remember, John... Don't say "um."

There's an interesting read here and here. The government corporation that "owns" a large portion of Hikvision has been tasked to develop software to track and predict terrorism. Seems...

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*******:

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It's funny that the vote has been carefully designed, you have added an "only" to the question so that the answer is “No”.

If the question is "Should US Embassy require Hikvision cameras (to protect their safety)" ? then the answer is most likely to be "yes".

I also don't agree that US Embassy should only buy Hikvision cameras, they should buy whatever that is good to...

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Question: Is it in the National Security interests of the US government to buy Hikvision and Chinese government product ?

3, I added a variant of your question as a poll:

you have added an "only" to the question

That reflects the fact of what is happening here. The US Embassy requires only Hikvision cameras. LTS, Dahua, Arecont, Axis, Samsung, etc. etc., no one else is allowed.

Is it legal for US government to buy Hikvision product...

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Hikvison is great for residential but for the Embassy!? No. If they have any smarts they would choose avigilon.

Hikvison is great for residential but for the Embassy...

Suites, maybe.

Do you mean Securities or security? What camera manufacturer is actually making their cameras in the states? I'm not any happier about the cameras coming down so much in cost but if they set up shop here they're making an investment in US workers I am not concerned anymore about security of the camera and the Chinese monitoring it then I am about any other device on the network. I'd be less...

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I was really surprised about the second vote result.

Do you really think that deploying Dahua, Hikvision, "Anyvision" cameras/NVRs are security risk? Why?

Anybody heard about network monitoring? About firewall, VPN, etc?

Securing security nowdays is much more about information security, than "what kind of camera you are using".

I agree with you 100%. If the truth was know I would bet that 99% of the HikVision detractors are competitors.

CAMERAS CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT A NETWORK, PERIOD....

(IP) CAMERAS CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT A NETWORK, PERIOD....

99% of the HikVision detractors are competitors.

And their supporters like you? ;)

There's no doubt that most Hikvision detractors are competitors just like most Hikvision supporters are partners.

Ultimately, we should be striving to find facts and real evidence.

To that...

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"CAMERAS CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT A NETWORK, PERIOD...."

You think your networks are secure from snooping by interested governments?

Dream on...

...99% of the HikVision detractors are competitors...

80% of 132 = 105.

1% of 105 = 1

Don't I feel special.

CAMERAS CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT A NETWORK, PERIOD....

Ok, but please remove the comma, it's grammatically incorrect,.

Not a competitor - consumer and installer.

Can you provide the link to the US Government bid referenced above?

17, this is the original link but for some reason Monday morning it was no longer publicly available. We had already downloaded the attached reports (which are the links / screenshots you see in the article).

I was mainly interested in reading / seeing the original government solicitation request. Odd the link doesn't work any more.

Just thought I would try one more time, and hopefully it comes out the woodwork...or someone knows where to look....but does anyone have a copy of the original government solicitation request?

Maybe it's squirrelled away on the the Fedbid.com website....

I have an old Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr rookie card I could trade you...OBO.

I was searching for non-IPVM information on Hikvision and Afghanistan, and found that Hikvision's Afghan partner is a company called Tesla Engineering Services Co. - presumably NOT related to Tesla Motors in the US.

No idea whether this company would be used by the US Embassy, or if a US company would be brought in to perform the installation.

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Honestly, I think this is shameful and I would never have believed it would ever happen. There is only one logical explanation...someone is getting greased in the process. We already know that that sort of thing is not beyond the Chinese government in any way, and sadly, our own government.

There is only one logical explanation...someone is getting greased in the process.

I have no idea why Hikvision was selected but I think their is a more banal likely explanation. They needed some cameras, they asked around, got some positive feedback on Hikvision, saw the price was so low, widely available, selected...

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Possibly. I guess if we see more of this around the world and in our own country, then we know it's not just about 1 embassy. If we do see more Hik-only RFP's from our own fed, then I would say that said greasing is entirely realistic. We already know it's entirely possible.

If we do see more Hik-only RFP's from our own fed, then I would say that said greasing is entirely realistic.

I am sure there will be many more and with Hikvision ramping up its enterprise sales team that will accelerate it further.

I don't think greasing is the most sensible tactic. Better to just drop prices, like...

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I think you have the most salient of responses here. As with any procurement, price is critical (moving forward). I think the FCO hasn't done their research on IA compliant and BAA requirements and is taking the path of least resistance. In any case, this will continue until it they are confronted with both the risk and violation of CFR. This really is a violation of the CFR - specifically...

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Hey, I'm with you but how are they able to get diacap certification do you think?

DiaCap was dropped March of 2015

Great question - IA is pretty rigorous. Most European / SE Asian products don't meet IA Compliance. The real issue is the list of TAA (Trade Agreement Act) countries where BAA is designated. China is NOT on that list. So, even if they achieved diacap certification, they still don't pass muster with BAA. Sometimes, however, I think we have so many regulations on products that countermand...

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Though the BAA only applies to purchases over $3,000, right?

30 x 100 = ?

What are the odds of that?

Should make you wonder why Chinese Companies are donating to Terry Mcauliffe And the Clinton Foundation, obvious Pay for Play.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/05/23/chinese-donor-linked-to-terry-mcauliffe-probe-also-caused-trouble-for-hillary.html

I recently sent an email to the procurement officer on a "complimentary" purchase that was listed in this thread and designated as HikVision. Here is my request and their response.

John,

I'm inquiring about this procurement as you state that this is a HikVision or equivalent product. Are you aware that your request (without valid justification - other than cost) is a complete...

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Much of this is a result of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) and our government not funding an initiative. The ARB required high definition surveillance cameras at high risk facilities be upgraded, but across the board funding was slashed drastically. Before this embassy they'd been using analog but have been pushed to go to IP much quicker than they'd like, as analog product...

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