The British government told its departments on Thursday to stop installing Chinese-made security cameras inside sensitive buildings due to potential security risks.
The directive follows an internal review of current and future security risks posed by surveillance systems.
"The review has concluded that, in light of the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required," cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden said in a written statement to parliament.
He said ministries should consider replacing these cameras now rather than waiting to upgrade them.
Two companies in the spotlight
In July, privacy advocacy group Big Brother Watch said the majority of surveillance cameras used by the British government were made by two Chinese companies: Hikvision and Dahua.
At the same time, 67 British lawmakers called for an outright ban on devices made by the two partially state-owned companies. They cited privacy concerns and links to human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Dowden said companies subject to China's National Intelligence Law could be forced to hand over information to Beijing's security services.
Hikvision said these allegations were "categorically false."
"Hikvision cannot transmit data from end-users to third parties, we do not manage end-user databases, nor do we sell cloud storage in the UK," the company said in a statement on Thursday.
zc/jsi (Reuters, AFP)