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Government says replacement of Chinese estates surveillance equipment is ‘on track’


Mark Say Managing Editor

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CCTV cameras
Image source: A Jackson

Government organisations are ahead of schedule with the plan to replace all Chinese surveillance equipment at sensitive sites by April of next year, two ministers have told Parliament.

Cabinet Office ministers Alex Burghart and Baroness Neville-Rolfe provided matching statements to the House of Commons and House of Lords on the progress of the effort to remove Chinese equipment from sites and departmental core networks.

This follows an announcement on the plan in November 2022, responding to UK Government fears of the security implications of using companies with links to China.  It said that Chinese law potentially compels businesses with operations in the country to hand over information to its intelligence agencies.

The ministers reiterated the need to manage and mitigate any potential security risk, and said the work is currently ahead of schedule.

They said it has been identified that the “vast majority” of sensitive sites never deployed such equipment, and that for those that did around 50% have now replaced it.

Pressing ahead

“Work is pressing ahead to remove remaining devices, with approximately 70% of sites expected to have their surveillance equipment removed by October this year, and all remaining sites on track for complete replacement no later than April 2025,” they said.

“The Government will always keep the security of our personnel, information and estate under constant review and, again, these preventative steps were taken in line with that approach and to manage against risks materialising.”

There have also been concerns about the role of Chinese surveillance technology in policing. In February of last year the biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner published the results of a survey showing that most police forces rely heavily on the technology, saying they had to be able to show the public they were working with partners who could be trusted.


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