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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hikvision Denies Allegations of Illegal Product Disguise and Chinese Espionage Activities

Hikvision, the world’s largest surveillance camera maker, has denied accusations of illegal product disguise that allegedly enabled Chinese espionage activities when selling to the US government. The Chinese technology giant has come under intense scrutiny for its ties to the Chinese state and the use of its products in monitoring Uyghurs.

The company has refuted claims revealed in a recently leaked Pentagon document and responded to queries from the BBC. While Hikvision did not answer questions about its partnerships with Chinese intelligence agencies, it emphasized that it has not engaged in any illegal activities related to the sale of its products.

Hikvision supplies its products to resellers who in turn supply governments and companies, often with the resellers’ branding, in a process known as “white labeling.” However, the company’s connections to the Chinese state and its use of technology in monitoring Uyghurs have raised concerns about its business practices.

The US government had previously banned Hikvision products from its government supply chains. In November, regulators went a step further and put in place a nationwide ban, citing concerns over national security. This move has intensified the focus on Hikvision’s ties to the Chinese state and its business practices.

Despite Hikvision’s denial of illegal product disguises and Chinese espionage activities, the allegations and concerns over its business practices continue to raise questions about the role of Chinese technology companies in global surveillance and national security.

What the leaked Pentagon files show

According to a leaked US government document obtained by the BBC, Hikvision is accused of partnering with Chinese intelligence entities and utilizing relationships with resellers to conceal its products for sale to government suppliers. The document alleges that this practice creates opportunities for Beijing to compromise Department of Defense networks and that Hikvision’s products are likely to persist in US government supply chains due to the company’s efforts to disguise its exports to retain access to US and ally markets. The document also suggests that white-labeled Hikvision products were available to customers in the US government as of January.

When questioned by the BBC regarding these allegations, a Hikvision spokesperson denied violating the law in conducting its business and stated that the company has longstanding policies in place to prevent improper labeling of its products for any reason. However, the accusations have raised concerns about the company’s business practices and the potential implications for US national security.

The use of surveillance technology has become increasingly controversial, particularly when involving companies with ties to foreign governments. As the world’s largest surveillance camera maker, Hikvision’s business practices and partnerships are under intense scrutiny, particularly in relation to its connections with the Chinese state and the use of its technology in monitoring Uyghurs. The allegations of illegal product disguises and partnerships with Chinese intelligence entities further highlight the need for transparency and accountability in the global technology industry.

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