The UK has announced it will be removing Chinese-made cameras and surveillance equipment from government locations – following rising fears of the country’s threat to national security.
The announcement marks the latest move from the UK government to address security threats posed by China, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the country “poses the biggest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity”.
During a G7 Summit in May, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak labelled China as “increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad”.
The UK government issued a statement to provide clarity on its timeline for tightening restrictions around the surveillance hardware.
“We will also commit to publish a timeline for the removal of surveillance equipment produced by companies subject to China’s National Intelligence Law from sensitive central government sites,” the statement read.
“By committing to this timeline, we are providing reassurance and urgency around the removal plans.”
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It has not been specified which companies are being targeted for the takedown but it will likely include China’s two largest manufacturers Dahua and Hikivision.
The UK government ordered an end to new installations of these Chinese-manufactured cameras in November last year.
At the time, cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden highlighted that an internal review found “current and future possible security risks” of the systems.
“The review has concluded that, in light of the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required,” Dowden said.
Lawmakers are now pushing for the ban to go further and completely remove pre-existing cameras from sensitive government areas.
Dahua and Hikivision cameras are widely spread across the UK, including in police stations and schools.
Hikivision has responded to the government action in statement, saying: “We believe that the possible action by the UK Government is a further step up of the mounting geopolitical tensions being expressed through technology bans, which by no means relates to the security of Hikvision’s products.”
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