Hikvision USA and Dahua Technology USA are due to be marketing their products at ISC West, according to the event’s interactive floor plan.
They are both American subsidiaries of Chinese companies that are currently on the US Bureau of Industry and Security’s “Entity List”.
US companies are unable to trade with companies on the list unless they have a government license.
Think Force, which received significant amounts of funding from Yitu Technologies, was also scheduled to be in attendance. Yitu was placed on the “Entity List” with Hikvision and Dahua in October 2019.
Think Force no longer appear on the floor plan, however, which suggests that they aren’t expected to be exhibiting due to the travel restrictions.
Dahua Technology USA
Dahua Technology USA Inc. is the American subsidiary of Zhejiang Dahua Technology, a video surveillance company with headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
According to the ISC’s floor plan, the company will have one of the largest stands available.
The company reportedly has distribution partners in over 180 countries and, in 2019, its total sales amounted to $3.73 billion.
A press release, which is available on the website, suggests the company will be promoting new Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including a “WiFi enabled video doorbell, floodlight camera, and mini camera.”
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2018 report to congress previously warned US politicians of the dangers of allowing Chinese companies to enter the US IoT market.
“Through IoT products and services, Chinese firms may be transferring data from their U.S. consumers to China, where the government retains expansive powers to collect and exploit data with little regard for privacy or ownership concerns,” the report said.
Dahua’s parent company was placed on the Bureau of Industry & Security’s “Entity List” on October 9, 2019, after it was “determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States.”
“Specifically, these entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups” in the Xinjiang region, according to the Bureau.
Dahua Technology and Hikvision – who will also be exhibiting at ISC West – received over $1 billion worth of government contracts in Xinjiang, according to a report by IVPM.
Dahua argued in a statement that the US’s decision lacked “any factual basis” and argued that the company “adheres to the business code of conduct, and follows market rules as well as international rules.”
However, the widespread crackdown in the region, coupled with a huge increase in surveillance capabilities, has led many to suggest that new technologies have been critical in abetting human rights violations.
“China’s goal is to use these technologies to suppress dissent, and to predict and snuff out any challenge to the ruling Communist Party’s grip on power. In Xinjiang, surveillance is part of a policy of cultural genocide” – Washington Post.
A recent estimate suggested that the number of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minority groups forcibly detained in the region could be as high as 1.5 million.
According to the company’s listing on the event’s website, Hikvision is the “world’s leading provider of security products and solutions”.
Hikvision USA has offices in California, while its parent company, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd, is headquartered in Hangzhou, China.
The company will be showcasing a new camera at the event which reportedly has “thermal imaging-based fire detection, temperature monitoring, [and] cigarette smoking detection” capabilities.
Hikvision was placed on the “Entity List” with Dahua and several other leading Chinese surveillance companies, including Megvii, SenseTime and Yitu Technologies.
However, other than Hikvision and Dahua, none of the other companies are expected to be at ISC West.
In 2018, the Financial Times reported that Hikvision had sold local authorities nearly 1,000 facial recognition cameras to be placed at mosques across Xinjiang.
IPVM also found that the company had been openly marketing AI enabled cameras that were allegedly capable of automatically identifying Uyghurs.
On Hikvision’s “Safe City” brochure, the company promotes its facial recognition technology which apparently “optimizes facial recognition algorithms for different countries and regions to achieve higher accuracy rate”.
Hikvision has denied any wrongdoing, “We have never and would never conduct business operations that are based on the condition of violating human rights.”
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report to congress recently warned of the threats posed by Chinese biometric surveillance companies.
“Facial recognition, voice recognition, and other biometric data analysis are key enabling technologies within China’s surveillance state, and in the future the PLA may leverage big data and AI to enhance propaganda and psychological operations” – US-China Economic and Security Review Commission
Marion Smith, writing about Hikvision and Dahua in the Washington Post, has said: “Most Americans would not willingly support companies that enabled such oppression.”
The company was also scheduled to be at the UK Home Office’s Security & Policing event, scheduled for 3-5 March, but mysteriously disappeared from the website when the event began.
Uniview describes itself as “the pioneer and leader of IP video surveillance”.
It has headquarters in Hangzhou, China, and claims to have sold its technology in 145 countries.
According to the company’s “Success Cases” they have sold surveillance equipment to private business in Oman, Kenya, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE, as well as local authorities in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, as part of the city’s Safe City project.
Uniview has also been implicated in the rise of surveillance in Xinjiang, China.
In an interview in 2017, Ximen Yan, the company’s vice president, was asked what the company’s largest application in China was. He responded: “Probably an IP-based public security solution in Xinjiang Province.”
In a story in the Financial Times from November 2019, a local policing expert and party cadre from the public security bureau in Xinjiang also said that Uniview were active in the region.
The company, which was once owned by Bain Capital — a private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney — is now part-owned by Alibaba, the Chinese tech giant, and China Transinfo.
The company is not currently on the “Entity List” and US companies currently face no limitations in trading with the company.