Government to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision – the company which makes the surveillance equipment in Xinjiang and banned in the US but not the U.K.

Sep 21, 2021 | Uncategorized

Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Home Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2472):

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 1 September (HL2328), (1) whether thy have now met with the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision, (2) if so, what the outcome of that meeting was, and (3) whether they intend to follow the decision of the government of the United States of America in banning Hikvision. (HL2472) 

Tabled on: 07 September 2021

Baroness Williams of Trafford

I will be meeting with the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner shortly to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision.

The UK is committed to promoting the ethical development and deployment of technology in the UK and overseas. We are aware of a number of Chinese technology companies linked to violations taking place in Xinjiang, and are monitoring the situation closely.

On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced a series of measures to help ensure UK businesses and the public sector are not complicit in human rights violations or abuses in Xinjiang. These measures, which are being implemented by the UK Government, include a review of export controls; the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act; increasing support for UK government bodies to exclude suppliers complicit in violations or abuses; and strengthening the Overseas Business Risk guidance to highlight that businesses engaged in the fields of surveillance, biometrics, or tracking technology are at heightened risk of complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

The UK Government has also published guidance to help cutting-edge UK firms negotiate the ethical, legal and commercial questions they may encounter when working with Chinese businesses, supporting safe and appropriate UK-China collaboration in digital and tech. The guidance provides firms with clear, up-to-date information and specialist support which reflect the UK’s values and take account of national security concerns.

Date and time of answer: 21 Sep 2021 at 15:56.

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