Surveillance equipment from controversial Chinese company is used in Denmark

Surveillance cameras from the companies Hikvision and Dahua photographed in Beijing. Hikvision is plagued by criticism and skepticism due to both suspicion of security issues and complicity in the oppression of citizens. Stock Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters

The Chinese company Hikvision supplies surveillance equipment to several public institutes in Denmark but according to US-based think tank Freedom House and the US government, the company’s equipment is involved in repression in China, Jyllands-Posten reports.

It is Danish public institutions like The Armed Forces, HCA Airport in Odense, the Port of Aalborg, and Aalborg Municipality which have purchased products from Hikvision and products includes advanced systems such as heat-seeking cameras and face recognition.

However, according to the USA, the Chinese company Hikvision constitutes a possible security risk and the company’s products are, according to the US government, used for human rights violations.

Amy Slipowitz, research manager of Freedom House says to JP that it is very worrying that the Danish authorities have bought surveillance technology from a company that is known to have contributed to human rights violations against Tibetans and Uighur.

According to Henrik Jess Jensen, Head of Departments at Aalborg Municipality, they were not aware of these allegations against the Chinese company prior to the purchase which is something they regret now. Henrik Jess Jensen adds that all rules have been complied with during the process.

The Danish Armed Forces will not disclose where or how they use products from Chinese Hikvision, but like other buyers, they emphasize that the system is not connected to the Internet. According to experts, however, that does not mean that the system is secure. HCA Airport in the Danish city of Odense has announced that they will change their monitoring system this summer.

In a response, Hikvision states that the company takes cybersecurity seriously, “respects human rights” and believes that the US blacklisting of the company is deeply disappointing and has happened “without reason or evidence”.

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