Whitehall bans Chinese cameras that caught Matt Hancock affair

Matt Hancock affair
Government agencies have been banned from installing Chinese CCTV equipment in "sensitive locations" due to national security concerns.
Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: "Additional controls are needed given the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems."
Cameras made by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua, two of the world's leading CCTV providers, are expected to fall under the ban.
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Last year, a Hikvision camera was accused of capturing former Health Secretary Matt Hancock hugging an aide, an image that was later leaked to the press and cost him his job.
Mr Dowden said departments have been ordered to stop the use of companies subject to China's national intelligence law, which can force Chinese companies to hand over sensitive data to state spy agencies.
He added that departments should isolate these surveillance cameras from "core networks" and consider proactively removing devices from sensitive locations rather than waiting for planned upgrades.
The decision comes after calls by MPs to ban Chinese security cameras from parliament amid concerns Chinese-made surveillance technology has been quietly spreading across the public sector.
Fraser Sampson, the UK's security camera officer, warned in a letter in June that advanced CCTV technology was a form of "digital asbestos" and called for a "moratorium on any further installation until we fully understand the risks we are creating to have".
Mr Sampson added: "Nearly every aspect of our lives is now monitored using advanced systems developed and purchased by companies under the control of other governments."
The cameras have already been banned from several departments, including the Department of Health and the Department of Works and Pensions.
Many security cameras come with advanced software that can be used to detect intruders and interfaced with computer programs or smartphone apps.
MPs had previously called for a ban on Hikvision's technology over allegations that its technology is widespread in China's Xinjiang province, where Uyghur Muslims have faced repression and detention.
Hikvision has denied claims that its technology has been used in this way, calling the allegations "baseless" and calling for a ban as a "knee-jerk response".
Alicia Kearns, a Conservative MP and chair of the China Research Group, called for a broader ban on public authorities making procurements from companies linked to China's alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
She said: "The removal of Chinese surveillance cameras from the property is a step in the right direction - but we can go much further."
A Hikvision spokesman said Thursday: "It is categorically wrong to portray Hikvision as a threat to national security. No reputable technical body or review has come to this conclusion. Hikvision cannot transfer data from end users to third parties, we do not manage that. End user databases, nor do we sell cloud storage in the UK.
“Our cameras comply with applicable UK rules and regulations and are subject to strict security requirements. We have always been fully transparent about our operations in the UK and have worked with the UK Government to clarify any misunderstandings about the company and our business and to address their concerns. We will make urgent efforts to keep in touch with ministers to understand this decision.”
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