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The UK government is cleaning up its departments of surveillance cameras made by Chinese manufacturers. In a statement, cabinet minister Oliver Dowden says the mandate is to ensure departments have protection from potential data theft and other security compromises.

According to Dowden, the UK government is actingfollowing a review of “current and future possible security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on the government estate.”

That review comes from the Government Security Group and found that the UK government should add controls to thwart the “increasing capability and connectivity” of Chinese surveillance technology within the country.

“Departments have therefore been instructed to cease deployment of such equipment onto sensitive sites, where it is produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China. Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks from materializing.”

Removal

The new mandate means departments will need to remove cameras if they are made by Chinese companies under that country’s laws. Because the UK is one of the most heavily surveilled countries in the world, that is a load of CCTV cameras that will need removing.

Major CCTV equipment manufacturers from China include Dahua and Hikvision. Both have many devices in the UK and both are partly owned by the Chinese state. However, Hikvision denies any claims that it may be spying on behalf of the Chinese government:

“Hikvision cannot transmit data from end-users to third parties, we do not manage end-user databases, nor do we sell cloud storage in the UK”.

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