Amsterdam and Britain Removing Chinese Security Cameras Over Spying Concerns

Two security cameras are mounted on the corner of a brick building. One camera is in a rectangular housing, while the other is in a dome-shaped enclosure. Both cameras are connected by visible wiring.

The municipality of Amsterdam has said it will remove Chinese-made security and traffic cameras over spying and human rights concerns following a similar move by the United Kingdom.

Amsterdam administrator Alexander Scholtes said yesterday (Monday) that the 1,280 Chinese cameras that are used for surveillance and traffic monitoring will be phased out within the next five years following concerns that the images the devices capture are transmitted to the manufacturer or the Chinese government.

There are also “concerns about the possible involvement of Chinese camera manufacturers in human rights violations in China, including against Uyghurs,” Scholtes wrote, per NL Times. “We are also sending a strong signal to the market to find alternatives to Chinese camera systems.”

The move echoes a similar decision by the U.K. last month in which Chinese-made surveillance technology will be removed from sensitive sites by April 2025. The British government said that 50 percent of Chinese camera systems at sensitive locations have already been replaced.

Aside from the accusation that Beijing is gathering images taken in the West, U.S. officials have accused Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. of being involved in human rights violations in China against the country’s Uyghur minority.

Chinese Camera Firms Face Uncertainty

Chinese-owned technology is a hot topic with the House of Representatives passing legislation in April that will ban the popular social media app TikTok in the United States if its Chinese owner does not sell its stake in the next year.

Consumer camera brands such as DJI are caught up in the legislation with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) saying that “DJI presents an unacceptable national security risk, and it is past time that drones made by Communist China are removed from America.”

Stefanik adds that DJI drones “pose the national security threat of TikTok but with wings.”

Last year, DJI vehemently spoke out against the bill, calling it inaccurate.

“DJI drones do not collect flight logs, photos, or videos — by default… DJI is not a military company. We remain one of few drone companies to clearly denounce and actively discourage use of our drones in combat… [and] DJI follows the rules and regulations in the markets it operates in,” the company said.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.