18 Sep 2020

The Dangers of Using Banned Surveillance Cameras

It might seem ironic that while security cameras are intended to help entities monitor their safety, some foreign-made video security cameras have been deemed a threat to national security. In August of 2018, the President signed a new law, banning the use of Dahua and Hikvision (and their OEMs) for use by the US government, government-funded contracts, and for critical infrastructure or national security projects. Both of these companies have raised security concerns with the US government and throughout the surveillance industry. Hikvision is largely controlled by the Chinese government. As for Dahua, in 2017, a cybersecurity firm uncovered that Dahua had produced cameras that allowed unauthorized people to access them and send information to China.

The US government is taking this threat to national security seriously and is increasingly taking steps. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included an amendment for fiscal 2019, which prohibits federal agencies from buying or using some Chinese-made surveillance cameras. More recently in the past month, the Chief Information Security Officer for the US Dept of Defense (DoD) Acquisitions, Katie Arrington, made the following statement:

“In August of 2020, if any of our contractors in the Department of Defense or our industrial base have Huawei, ZTE, or Hikvision video surveillance cameras, or telecoms, we can no longer do business.” She further stated, “If COVID-19 has shown us anything, getting our own supply chain, making sure that we are taking care of home first is crucially important to our national defense.”

Difficulties Implementing the Ban

Despite the US government’s strong stance, eliminating the threat from these foreign-made surveillance cameras is more complicated than it sounds. Many businesses are unaware their security cameras may be foreign-made or utilize banned parts. Additionally, many of the cameras are sent to various equipment manufacturers and rebranded to be sold under those names. According to an article in Bloomberg, “A complex web of supply chain logistics and licensing agreements make it almost impossible to know whether a security camera is actually made in China or contains components that would violate US rules.”

Suppose your business works with the US government or seeks government-funded contracts. In that case, it’s vital to review your surveillance system and ensure you are not using banned cameras or components, or you could jeopardize current and future opportunities. IPVM, a leading authority on video surveillance, recently wrote: “It’s clear the US government is taking a firm approach towards Hikvision/Dahua integrators… Any integrators who find themselves in this category should pay close attention if they want to do business with the federal government again.”

What to Do if Your Business Has Banned Equipment

If you discover or suspect that you are using banned surveillance equipment, there is a solution. All of DeCurtis’ video surveillance cameras and their full line of safety and security technology are 100% compliant. Ensuring the security of your business, associates, facilities, and assets are more important now than ever. DeCurtis offers advanced video surveillance solutions that provide control and automation, advanced features, meet FDA-approval and increase the safety of all those you serve. (Read How to Choose the Right Video Surveillance Solution.)

Additionally, if you work for a state, local or tribal government agency, your purchase of approved security technology in response to the COVID crisis, such as thermal imaging cameras or temperature-screening kiosks, may qualify as a necessary expense under the CARES Act. (Learn more.)

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