On Thursday (11.24.2022), the British government ordered all its ministries and departments to stop using video surveillance cameras manufactured by Chinese companies in “sensitive” sites, which Beijing is required by law to cooperate with its intelligence agencies.
Oliver Dowden, the most senior minister without portfolio in the executive branch, stated in the House of Commons that these computers “should not be connected to the main networks of departments” and officials must assess whether they need to be replaced immediately..
“Security considerations are always vital in the environment of those types of venues, so we take steps to prevent any security risk from occurring,” Dowden told MPs.
The government’s Commissioner for Video Surveillance and Biometrics, Fraser Sampson, warned last June that public technology systems are being built on a foundation of “digital asbestos,” referring to materials used in some construction that can cause adverse health effects.
“Almost every aspect of our lives is now monitored by advanced systems designed and purchased from companies controlled by other governments,” Sampson warned. It added that those companies are “obligated to share data with their governments under their national laws”.
Conservative Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Alicia Cairns welcomed the measure announced by the government. “Removing the Chinese surveillance cameras from this building is a step in the right direction, but we have to go much further,” said the MP, who called for the measures to be extended to all “public entities and local authorities.” (EFE)
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