Tech

Hikvision: The World’s Largest Surveillance Company You’ve Never Heard Of


For example, the study found 55,455 Hikvision networks in London. “From my experience just walking around London, it will probably be many times more than that. Samuel Woodhams, a researcher at Top10VPN who carried out the study, said:

The popularity of Hikvision cameras abroad has raised concerns around national security, although it has not been proven that the company transfers overseas data to China. In 2019, the United States passed a bill prohibits Hikvision from holding any contracts with the federal government.

What really makes Hikvision famous on the global stage is its participation in China’s oppressive policies in Xinjiang towards Muslim minorities, mainly the Uighurs. Multiple surveillance cameras, many equipped with advanced facial recognition, have been installed both inside and outside Xinjiang detention camps to aid government control over the region. And Hikvision has been an important part of this operation. The company was established has received at least $275 million in government contracts to build surveillance systems in the area and has developed AI cameras that can detect the physical features of ethnic Uyghurs.

Asked questions about Xinjiang by MIT Technology Review, Hikvision responded with a statement that did not address it directly but said the company “has been and will continue to strictly comply with applicable laws and regulations in countries in which we operate, following internationally accepted business ethics and business standards. “

“Roads [companies like Hikvision] being able to hold people in place through checkpoints and facial recognition systems have made the entire area, from the Uyghur point of view at least, flexible [but] closed system. They often talk about it as an open-air prison,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at Simon Fraser University and author of In the Camp: China’s High-Tech Punishment Colony. “And that really wouldn’t be possible without these tech companies.”

Unexplored waters

Adding Hikvision to SDN won’t further escalate tensions between the US and China – it will open a new front in international sanctions in which tech companies are increasingly embroiled in contests. gain geopolitical power.

“People can be criminally prosecuted for working or doing business with the company after sanctions are announced,” Healy said.[Hikvision] can no longer interact with the US dollar or the US financial system. In general, banks and other financial institutions around the world will also not do business with you because they want to maintain access to the US dollar and US financial markets. ”

At the very least, this means that Hikvision won’t be able to sell its cameras outside of China, and its international sales will fall to zero. But it is unclear whether governments and companies that already use Hikvision cameras will be required to replace them immediately. Then things get even more complicated when it comes to Hikvision services beyond hardware. Can existing Hikvision users accept software updates from the company? Using corporate cloud storage? “That’s exactly the kind of thing [the US government] Healy says it’s possible to make an exception to this, because the traditional enforcement of SDN listings may become impractical in the digital age.



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