July 5, 2022
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has called on the Scottish government to set out a timescale for removing components from its security systems produced by a firm linked to repression of Uighurs in China.
His comments come as a group of 67 MPs and lords have called on the UK government to ban the sale and use of Hikvision and Dahua surveillance equipment in the UK.
The Times previously reported that concerns over the use of Hikvision cameras have been raised since reports emerged that its facial recognition cameras have been used to distinguish entire ethnic populations from the Chinese, placing Tibetans and Uighurs at risk.
In July 2021, the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee report into the UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang and Beyond was clear that no company with ties to human rights breaches should be receiving government contracts, highlighting Hikvision as an example of such a firm.
In response to parliamentary questions from Mr Cole-Hamilton, Scottish ministers revealed that within the Police Scotland estate: “A number of Police Scotland CCTV cameras within the estate will be Hikvision or will contain Hikvision components” and that on the Scottish government estate: “The Scottish government has a number of legacy items manufactured by Hikvision which are being phased out”.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “It’s clear that the time has come for a ban on the sale and use of this equipment.
“The Scottish government have had numerous warnings that Hikvision were providing surveillance tools for the Chinese government including in last summer’s Foreign Affairs committee report.
“The Scottish government and its agencies should cease purchasing equipment from this firm and be open about where they are in use across Scotland and the practicalities of removing this equipment.
“Ministers need to give a definitive timeline for when Hikvision components will be removed from the entire Scottish government estate and that of its partners such as Police Scotland.”