Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

Author Bio ▼

James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
June 7, 2023


Whitepaper: Enhancing security, resilience and efficiency across a range of industries

Video surveillance

UK Cabinet Office announces plans to remove Chinese-based surveillance cameras from central government departments

Announcing the plans on Tuesday 6 June, the UK’s Cabinet Office said it was committed to publishing a timeline for the removal of cameras subject to China’s National Intelligence Law in central government departments.

UKGovernment-DowningStreet-23The move is an extension of the directive from the Cabinet Office in November. This instructed government departments to stop the installation of video surveillance equipment made by companies that were subject to China’s National Intelligence Law.

While that order was to stop any new installations, this announcement goes significantly further, with the actual removal and replacement of equipment.

The plans are expected to result in significant amounts of the existing video surveillance equipment being removed from facilities and estates.

The measures were announced as part of several new amendments to the Government’s Procurement Bill, which is currently going through the parliamentary process to become law.

The clause set out that the Secretary of State “must publish a timeline for the removal” within six months of the Bill passing into law.

What’s behind the removal plans?

Motivations behind the directive are said to be related to national security, with officials wishing to limit potential intelligence gathering by China.

Jeremy Quinn, Cabinet Office minister, commented on the amendments: “These new measures will protect our sensitive sectors from companies which could threaten national security and are a firm deterrence to hostile actors who wish to do Britain harm”.

Some remain sceptical of this argument, however, pointing towards wider geopolitical reasons for the ban.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Emily Taylor, CEO of Oxford Information Labs, a cyber intelligence company, expressed concern over the move. Noting that while there may be “a plausible but unproven security case”, Taylor believes it is likely more related to a “step up of mounting geopolitical tensions that are being expressed through technology bans”.

She added that “if you look into any tech supply chains, you will find China somewhere, so where will you stop?”

The United States banned federal projects from using such equipment in 2019 under its National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA).

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Australian Government removed Chinese-based surveillance cameras from its defence sites, citing “security fears”.


Free Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2023

Discover the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving video surveillance sector by downloading the 2023 Video Surveillance Report. Over 500 responses to our survey, which come from integrators to consultants and heads of security, inform our analysis of the latest trends including AI, the state of the video surveillance market, uptake of the cloud, and the wider economic and geopolitical events impacting the sector!

Download for FREE to discover top industry insight around the latest innovations in video surveillance systems.


Related Topics

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments