UK restricts Chinese cameras in government buildings over security concerns

The British government has instructed its various departments to not install Chinese-linked surveillance cameras at its buildings. The decision was taken amid reports of security risks posed by such companies as part of a cyber tactic adopted by China. Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said in a written statement to parliament that the decision was taken following a review of “current and future possible security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on the government estate,” 

“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 according to Reuters. 

The United States has already implemented such a ban as the government organisations were ordered not to use any cameras made by Hikvision, Dahua, and other Chinese firms. The two Chinese firms – Hikvision and Dahua – have long been accused of enjoying special treatment from the Chinese government and in the past few months, several politicians in the UK asked for a blanket ban. 

According to Sky News, the review submitted by Dowden stated – “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 materialising,” the statement sent to the parliament added. 

The existing cameras made by these companies will immediately be taken down from the government facilities and the departments have also been instructed to disconnect them from all systems.