Image source: GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0
The Government has told departments not to use any new visual surveillance systems from companies with links to China on for security on their estates.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden MP said in a statement to Parliament that the step has been taken in the light of a threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of the systems, which has led to new controls being imposed.
“Departments have therefore been instructed to cease deployment of such equipment onto sensitive sites, where it is produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
“Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks materialising.”
The Chinese law potentially compels businesses with operations in the country to hand over information to its intelligence agencies.
Dowden added that no such equipment should be connected to core networks, and that departments should consider removing any relevant equipment from sensitive sites in advance of planned upgrade.
“Government will continue to keep this risk under review and will take further steps if and when they become necessary,” he said.
Earlier this year, the biometrics and surveillance commissioner indicated concerns over the role of Chinese company Hikvision in providing surveillance camera systems for the public sector.
The move also follows a long running controversy over the role of Chinese company Huawei in the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. In October the Government said its technology had to be removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.