The U.S. Army removed security cameras from the Army base at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, because of concerns in Congress about their Chinese manufacturer.
According to The Wall Street Journal, officials removed five cameras manufactured by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company.
Col. Christopher Beck, the chief of staff at Fort Leonard Wood, said last week that the cameras never posed a security risk. Rather, he said, the cameras were removed because the company faced scrutiny by Amercan officials.
“At no time did any of these cameras cover a high-security or high-security critical asset,” Beck said.
“We never believed [the cameras] were a security risk. They were always on a closed network.”
But Rep. Vicky Hartzler, the Republican who represents the district where Fort Leonard Wood is located, told the Journal she was worried.
“The news that there were Hikvision cameras at Fort Leonard Wood was very concerning,” she said.
In fact, according to the Journal, Rep. Steve Chabot, the Ohio Republican who chairs the House Committee on Small Business, is calling a hearing for the end of January investigate whether “Hikvision cameras pose potential risks to businesses as entryways for hackers.”
The Journal cited a Chabot spokeswoman, who said the hearing will cover the security-camera industry overall, but will look at Hikvision specifically.
According to the Journal, Chabot is worried about Chinese state ownership of Hikvision. According ot the Journal, the government of China has a 42 percent stake in the company.
“You have a company here, Hikvision, in which the Chinese government has a major controlling interest, making a significant portion of the world’s surveillance cameras,” Chabot said, according to the newspaper. “It is a significant concern that Beijing could use these cameras to essentially spy on us.”
Hikvision argues that its products are secure and are not used to spy on Americans.
A spokesman for Hikvision told the Journal the company “believes the products it builds and distributes around the world must meet the highest standards of not only quality but also security.”
“We stand by our products and processes,” the spokesman said.
Looks like the company is going to have a chance to do just that — in a congressional hearing.
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