U.S. government agencies still use thousands of Chinese surveillance cameras

Congress banned federal agencies from buying or extending contracts for surveillance cameras made by some Chinese companies, but thousands remain in use because they are expensive to replace, according to security company Forescout. (Spa)

More than 2,700 banned surveillance cameras made by Chinese companies are being used at U.S. military and government sites, according to security company Forescout.

Congress approved a bill last year prohibiting the purchase of the Chinese video gear or renewing contracts for the gear, but it has been difficult and costly to replace the cameras, according to officials quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

Congress has more broadly pushed for securing the technology supply chain, including video cameras from China, because of the potential for using facial recognition technology to spy on individuals and concerns that China-backed hacking could occur and pose national security threats.

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The congressional ban on video surveillance gear purchases included technology from Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, which is partly owned by the Chinese government and a privately-owned Chinese surveillance company, Dahua Technology. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from Missouri supported the provision of the camera ban in the National Defense Authorization Act which was approved Aug. 13, 2018.

Both Hikvision and Dahua told the Journal that they take steps to ensure their products aren’t hacked and follow U.S. requirements.

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