Hikvision: The world’s biggest surveillance company you’ve never heard of

For example, research has found 55,455 Hicvision networks in London. “From my experience of traveling around London, it’s probably more than that. They’re in almost every supermarket,” says Samuel Woodhams, a researcher at Top 10 VPN, who conducted the study.

The prevalence of Hikvision cameras abroad has caused concern around national security, although it has not been proven that the company transfers its foreign data back to China. In 2019, the USA passed a bill banning Hickvision from holding any agreements with the federal government.

What really made Hickwisan infamous on the world stage was his involvement in the oppressive policies of the Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, mostly against Uighurs. Numerous surveillance cameras, equipped with many advanced facial recognition, have been installed both inside and outside detention camps in Xinjiang to help government control over the region. And Hickvision has been a big part of this activity. The company was said to have won at least $ 275 million in government contracts to create surveillance in the region and has developed AI cameras that can detect physical features of Uighur ethnicity.

Presented by MIT Technology Review with questions about Xinjiang, Hikvision responded with a statement that did not address them directly, but the company stated that “following strictly applicable laws and regulations in the countries where we operate, following the internationally accepted business ethics.” Will continue and will continue. And business standards. “

“The road [companies like Hikvision] Able to place people through checkpoints and facial recognition systems have turned the whole region, at least from a Uyghur perspective, into flexible ones. [but] Closed system. They often talk about it as an open-air prison, “says Darren Boiler, an anthropologist and author at Simon Fraser University. In the camps: China’s high-tech panel colony“And it really wouldn’t be possible without these tech companies.”

Unfamiliar water

Adding Hickvision to the SDN will do more than increase tensions between the US and China – it will open a new front in international sanctions, with tech companies increasingly finding themselves embroiled in a geopolitical power struggle.

Once approval is announced, people can be prosecuted for working with the company or doing business, Healy says: “[Hikvision] Will no longer be able to interact with the US dollar or the US financial system. And other banks and other financial institutions around the world, in general, will not trade with you because they want to maintain their reach in US dollars and US financial markets. ”

At the very least, this would mean that Hickvision would not be able to sell its cameras outside of China, and its international revenue would be nil. But it is unclear whether governments and companies already using Hikvision cameras will be asked to replace them immediately. Then things get trickier when it comes to hardware services beyond hardware. Can current Hikvision users accept software updates from the company? Use the company’s cloud storage? “It simply came to our notice then [the US government] There may be exceptions to this, “says Healy, as the traditional implementation of SDN lists may become impractical in the digital age.

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