LONDON (AP) — An independent monitor of Britain’s use of surveillance cameras has called on the government to clarify its stance on buying equipment from a Chinese technology company accused of involvement in human rights abuses. human rights.
Fraser Sampson, the biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner, said he raised concerns with senior Cabinet officials after Hikvision failed to respond to questions about the extent of its role in China’s handling Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the western province of Xinjiang.
“There are serious unanswered questions about Hikvision’s involvement in the appalling human rights abuses in China,” Sampson said in a statement Tuesday. “The company appears unwilling or unable to provide assurances about the ethics of some of its operations and associated equipment safety issues.”
Sampson said the company’s cameras and facial recognition technology have been implicated in “systematic human rights abuses” against Uyghurs. He said the widespread persecution of the minority group in Xinjiang “is known to rely heavily on surveillance technology, including facial recognition software designed to detect racial characteristics.”
UK media reported that the UK Department of Health had banned Hikvision from competing for new business after a procurement report revealed “ethical concerns” about the company.
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Sampson said all branches of the UK government should rule out contracts with Hikvision until the company provides the necessary ethics and safety information.
Hikvision, headquartered in Hangzhou, China, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. The company’s website says its products are used in more than 150 countries and regions and it employs more than 42,000 people worldwide.
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