The FCC has now prohibited the import of surveillance cameras from Hikvision, a Chinese company. This legislative move was made official last year, on November 11, with President Biden’s signature, continuing the escalating measures against these manufacturers.
The initial 2019 ban was limited to government entities. Subsequently, it was extended to disallow solution providers, catering to the government, from supplying or keeping inventory of the banned equipment for other customers. Presently, both public and private sectors are encompassed by this ban.
It’s a Human Rights Issue
The underpinning of the initial ban revolved around human rights issues in China and suspicions of potential security loopholes. Many of the restricted firms have affiliations with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The nexus between these Chinese surveillance devices and US national security threats has since grown more pronounced.
According to the H.R. 3919 Secure Equipment Act of 2021, the FCC is instructed not to greenlight or evaluate applications for devices that could compromise national security. Preceding this, the FCC had already expressed intentions to restrict five other Chinese firms.
In practical terms, this implies that from the moment the FCC formalizes the ban up to November 11, 2022, sales of these security cameras in the US will cease. Facilities are advised to avoid installing these devices during this transition. Post-ban, support, maintenance, and upgrades for these cameras will be virtually non-existent. If considering bids for a business or home security surveillance system, ensure none of the prohibited manufacturers are included.
Will existing Hikvision devices need to be replaced?
Security Camera Installation
There are still questions regarding the FCC’s stance on earlier authorizations — specifically, if there’s a mandate to dismount existing Hikvision devices. If such a direction is taken, clarity is needed on whether the FCC will provide refunds for revoked authorizations.
These cameras, while affordable, are of a lesser quality tailored for small-to-medium markets. Facilities using these products should start considering upgrades. DES offers a broad range of premium vendors like Axis, Bosch, and Hanwha, which offer competitively priced alternatives for these market segments.
US Showing Strong Regulations against other Chinese Companies
The recent regulatory action underscores Washington’s sustained efforts to monitor Chinese tech heavyweights due to concerns over potential espionage activities targeting Americans. There have also been hints from the U.S. government about possible measures against TikTok. Earlier this month, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr suggested in an interview that U.S. legislators should consider prohibiting the app in the U.S. due to potential data mismanagement concerns with its China-based parent company, ByteDance.