Concerns were raised about how Hikvision’s goods were used to monitor the sites of Uyghur Muslims by a human rights auditor the firm employed.
According to a war crimes investigator hired by Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance camera business that is limited in certain areas of the US and the UK, Hikvision was aware that their technology was being used to monitor the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority despite prior denials of this fact. Newly released recordings give the accusations leveled against Hikvision greater weight, which may jeopardize the company’s ability to retain its dominant position in the worldwide market for CCTV and video surveillance technology.
Hikvision openly denies any role in the incarceration of Uyghurs, but fresh information from internal contracts and recordings obtained by Axios seems to indicate that Hikvision knew as early as 2020 that their devices were being used to target Uyghurs collectively. Richard-Pierre Prosper, a war crimes investigator and lawyer engaged by Hikvision to perform an internal investigation of the company’s connections in the Xinjiang area, where more than a million Uyghurs have been arrested, expresses grave ethical concerns in the tapes, which were originally made available by IPVM. According to reports, Uygurs were a focus of one of the contracts known as “The Moyu Project,” which also demanded that their religious sites be monitored and under surveillance. The business has previously made claims about its cameras’ capacity to recognize and follow certain ethnic communities. However, according to Prosper’s audit, the Moyu contract had wording concerning “looking at groups and not isolated to a criminal.” Hikvision claims to have discontinued such function.
Prosper, a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes concerns under the Bush administration, stated in the tapes, “We’re not going to absolve the company.” “We don’t believe you [Hikvision] were at fault, but there were some systemic flaws with some red flags you should have noticed,”
According to a statement released by Hikvision, the company takes human rights concerns seriously and is “fully aware of the room for further improvement, as evidenced by our efforts to enhance human rights compliance since 2018.”
A total of 15,000 pages of records pertaining to Prosper’s offer for about 15 contracts in the Xinjiang area were allegedly included in the audit. Determining the company’s “responsibility and exposure” to local human rights violations was the investigator’s main role. When Prosper looked into the Moyu project, he was disturbed.
He wrote, “This is an issue.
Hikvision encounters opposition globally
Hikvision has been engaged in a protracted battle with authorities from all over the world over its claimed intimate ties to the Chinese government. Hikvision cameras allegedly were installed in Chinese detention facilities and then utilized as photographic proof in the unlawful incarceration of Uyghurs, according to human rights groups and regulators. Because of the government’s sophisticated monitoring capabilities, China’s persecuted Muslim minority has long endured terrible political persecution.
Hikvision’s involvement in the political persecution of the Uyghurs has been cited by regulators outside of China to support trade restrictions imposed on certain of its goods. Hikvision may not be as well-known as other contentious Chinese tech firms like Huawei or TikTok, but its influence is unquestionably just as significant. Hikvision is said to be responsible for approximately 20% of all CCTV cameras in the globe, according to analysts, earning the business the moniker “the biggest surveillance company you’ve never heard of” by MIT Technology Review.
Hikvision and a few other Chinese companies’ equipment acquisitions were prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission as of late last year due to possible “national security” risks. The company’s capacity to sell its goods in the US legitimately has been severely restricted by this action. In February, Hikvision filed a complaint against the FCC, alleging that the organization had overstepped its bounds. Due to concerns that the corporation would share information with the Chinese government, the UK has prohibited Hikvision devices from being used in “sensitive” regions. According to the business, it is “categorically false to represent Hikvision as a threat to national security.”