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Chinese CCTV cameras on British streets have hidden microphones that could spy on citizens

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Chinese CCTV cameras installed on British streets have hidden microphones that could spy on citizens.

This situation is revealed in an article by the British newspaper The Telegraph. The British article indicates the name of a Chinese company, Hikvision, which produces such video cameras.

Surveillance Commissioner Fraser Sampson said he had become increasingly concerned about the security risks posed by “state-controlled surveillance systems that cover our public spaces”. Fraser Sampson has warned public bodies not to buy CCTV equipment from Chinese companies such as Hikvision.

A room at this firm captured Matt Hancock’s infamous relationship with his mistress, costing him the job of health secretary. In a letter to ministers, Professor Sampson praised Sajid Javid, the current Secretary of Health, for blacklisting Hikvision, saying that his reasoning must be applied equally in all government departments, decentralized administrations and local authorities. .

Fraser Sampson even suggested that the Chinese could listen to conversations in schools using secret microphones operated remotely, which are “increasingly difficult to detect.” Although his letter did not recommend the removal of existing Chinese-made CCTV cameras, lawmakers called for an urgent review to identify and remove cameras capable of remote monitoring.

Street cameras have functions that can be triggered remotely

Professor Sampson wrote: “In terms of security, surveillance of public space is becoming more intrusive and modern surveillance cameras are being built with maximum functionality inside, at the point of manufacture.” “This means that they come with capabilities that can be started remotely in the future, when needed, such as the ability to pick up sound or read vehicle license plates.”

“The more surveillance cameras can do, the more important it will be to reassure people about what those systems are not doing, whether it’s our streets, our sports fields or our schools. This is increasingly difficult to detect from a technical point of view and requires the necessary transparency and diligence on the part of all those involved in the surveillance of the public space. “

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Chinese companies ‘associated with Chinese atrocities’

His letter also raised ethical concerns about buying equipment from Chinese companies “associated with the atrocities in China.” These atrocities include human rights violations against Uighur Muslims.

He said he had “repeatedly asked” Hikvision, which is partly owned by the Chinese state, to accept that crimes were being committed – such as extrajudicial detention of Uighurs and forced labor. He also asked to clarify the extent of the company’s involvement in the provision of surveillance equipment for detention camps. Sampson later said that the Chinese company’s representatives “have not yet answered these questions”.

Professor Sampson met with local ministers and officials and wrote to police chiefs to highlight the issue. According to the British press, the police were informed about these risks a month ago. Sampson was particularly concerned about the possibility of misuse of facial recognition. This could violate “the freedom to move, to meet and to talk.”

Chinese CCTV cameras are used by schools, local authorities and police

Earlier this year, the Big Brother Watch civil liberties group released a report in which two-thirds of public bodies that responded to a request for information admitted to using Chinese-made CCTVs. It reported that 63% of schools and 73% of local authorities use Chinese-made CCTV, as well as more than half of NHS trusts and 31% of police forces. Most are produced by Hikvision, the world’s largest CCTV producer, and Dahua, which is believed to be the second largest.

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The Big Brother Watch report also highlighted other capabilities built into many cameras. Features include facial recognition technology and even behavioral analysis. He called for a ban on the sale and use of Hikvision and Dahua surveillance equipment in the UK. This means that tens of thousands of rooms should be uninstalled and replaced. Both companies have been included on a US list of companies that pose a threat to US national security by the Federal Communications Commission.

An audit of government buildings and military units is required

David Davis, a former London cabinet minister who has highlighted concerns about China’s CCTV cameras in the past, said: “There needs to be an audit of government buildings and military units. No one should have a surveillance device that could be turned on from anywhere else, and I would say the same thing if the cameras were French, Russian or even American. ”

The video camera in Hancock’s former office – now Javid’s office – has been removed. A source close to the health secretary said that “no security issues were found” with the device. The video released with Hancock kissing his assistant, Gina Coladangelo, who forced his resignation from the Cabinet, is believed to have been recorded by someone pointing a mobile phone at a monitor, instead of being received remotely. The culprit was not found.

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