Chinese surveillance equipment ban could erode U.S. government confidence


Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. in Hangzhou, China on May 28, 2019. / Getty

Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. in Hangzhou, China on May 28, 2019. / Getty

Editor’s Note: Andy Mok is a researcher at the Center for China and Globalization. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

According to a Pew Research Center study published last year, only 20 percent of American adults say they trust the Washington government to “do the right thing” almost always or most of the time. The recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to ban Chinese surveillance equipment from Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Dahua Technology Co. and others will increase costs and create unnecessary problems and security loopholes. for schools, police departments and other vital institutions across the United States. States.

Instead of providing millions of Americans with a much needed sense of security and safety, this action will only add to the already considerable fear and anxiety felt by Americans across the country. And so, the FCC will further erode trust in the federal government.

The United States is becoming an increasingly dangerous place, with no place safe from the most horrific types of violence. Filming in schools, hospitals, workplaces and concert halls have become commonplace and are in the news regularly. And while this has become something of a disheartening new normal, Americans aren’t completely immune to the chaos and bloodshed. There may be a veneer of resignation, but there is also fear and anxiety seeping underneath.

Americans are much more tolerant of their government’s indifference and even incompetence. But like people all over the world, they also long for a government that can protect their lives and property from harm. According to Pew, while Americans may not trust their government, majorities want the government to play a major role in everything from protecting the country from terrorism to access to health care and poverty reduction.

Surveillance cameras and other equipment play a crucial role in the safety of people. But cameras in particular are of symbolic importance, as the presence of cameras can promote a sense of security and help deter crime. For this reason, installing and operating a comprehensive network of surveillance equipment has become a cornerstone for local governments tasked with helping their citizens cope with a life that many around the world would find unacceptably terrifying. .

However, the United States practices a particularly cruel and barbaric form of capitalism resulting from its heritage of race-based slavery. It is a system that glorifies capital and profit at the expense of the life and dignity of ordinary Americans. As a result, many local governments also face severe budgetary constraints to meet the most basic needs of their populations. For these institutions, inexpensive, reliable and high-quality surveillance equipment is a godsend.

Participants walk past a screen for 5G services from Chinese tech company Huawei in Beijing, October 31, 2019. / AP

Participants walk past a screen for 5G services from Chinese tech company Huawei in Beijing, October 31, 2019. / AP

Thanks to Chinese innovation and manufacturing expertise as well as the diligence, sacrifice and perseverance of its workers, companies like Hikvision, Dahua, ZTE and others have provided low cost solutions. , reliable and technologically superior that play a key role in alleviating the symptoms of a toxic product. American ideology and system of governance.

Just as with many other aspects of daily life, from home furnishings and consumer electronics to clothing, these companies have provided hundreds of millions of Americans with a quality of life significantly higher than they could otherwise. benefit. Ironically, this has gone unnoticed by many Americans.

If the FCC bans Chinese surveillance equipment, many ordinary Americans will suffer the consequences, as local governments, police departments, schools and hospitals will become more vulnerable than the type of horrific violence that has become all too common in states. -United today. This will be further proof that the mistrust many Americans have of their government is justified and that the government has little understanding or concern for the welfare of the people it claims to represent.

While allegations of threats to national security are legitimate, these concerns can be addressed when expressed as specific evidence-based vulnerabilities and not as vague, demonizing and unfounded allegations. In addition, any device connected to the Internet may be subject to unauthorized access regardless of the country of origin of the equipment. We don’t need to look any further than recent SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline hacks to see this.

Confidence is fragile and once broken it can be difficult, if not impossible, to regain. The FCC has always enjoyed a solid reputation. But this ban may not only undermine its position among the American people, but contribute to an additional and perhaps irrevocable loss of confidence in the government as a whole.

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