Half of the borough councils in London use surveillance equipment linked to technology used by the Chinese Communist Party in the oppression and persecution of the Uighurs.
Data obtained from a freedom of information request given to the Thomson Reuters Foundation revealed that at least half of London’s 32 local governing bodies were using surveillance systems from two Chinese companies, Hikvision and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co Ltd, which produce facial recognition technologies. Both firms are currently subject to restrictions in the United States.
Hikvision provides video surveillance systems to police in Xinjiang, home to the Uighurs, where an estimated one to three million of the Muslim minority group are believed to be detained in the province’s more than 1,000 concentration camps.
Digital rights researcher Samuel Woodhams, who handed the data to the news organisation, said of the findings: “We’re getting a clearer picture of just how pervasive these firms’ technology is in the UK — and how frequently public funds are being used to acquire it.”
Hammersmith and Fulham, for example, have 1,790 Hikvision cameras at an estimated cost of £350,000 ($485,000).