The Mail on Saturday can reveal that the Home Office bosses were faced with a security crisis after learning that its London headquarters had a CCTV camera unit made by a Chinese company.
Camera, believed to be located in lobby of Marsham Street Building and outwardly labeled Honeywell, has been replaced
The partly-state-owned Dahua was responsible for the decision. It is currently prohibited from selling cameras to US national authorities and has been blacklisted by US authorities. Hikvision, another Chinese surveillance company, was also affected by the ban.
Both companies’ technology has allegedly been used in the repression of the Muslim Uighurs in China. US authorities are also concerned about the links between the Chinese state and the US firms, which are claims denied by the bosses.
This Home Office revelation comes as a result of the British government not sanctioning a motion by MPs to ban those companies. Last week, Parliament received a revised surveillance camera code. However, it did not include a clause prohibiting equipment purchases from companies involved in human rights violations.
Chinese CCTV camera firm, Hikvision has been implicated in surveillance of the persecuted Muslim Uighur population (File image)
A contract for the firm’s cameras shows they are used in at least one Uighur ‘re-education camp’. Pictured: A facility believed to be a ‘re-education’ camp in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region
Last week, Justin Hollis, Hikvision’s UK boss, sent a gloating letter to suppliers marked ‘confidential’ that trumpeted the failure to get the ban passed. He wrote: ‘We are delighted that in making this decision, the UK Government has been led by facts, not politics.
‘This is good news for all businesses across the country who turn to Hikvision’s video surveillance products and security solutions to protect their property, employees, customers and loved ones.’
But Fraser Sampson, Britain’s Biometric and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said: ‘The Government has recognised what’s happening in China and they’ve recognised the need for guidance – plus, there’s a Bill next year on public procurement which will deal with these issues.
‘I don’t understand how this is a victory for Hikvision. It is amazing that they are celebrating positive news, but I think it’s absurd. [the letter] as confidential.’
The Home Office stated last night that it will not make any comment regarding security. Hikvision did not reply to Hikvision’s request for comment. Dahua has yet to respond.