Kaohsiung City Government-issued security cameras for city councilors were made by a Chinese company banned by the Executive Yuan as a cybersecurity risk, New Power Party (NPP) Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Jie (黃捷) said yesterday.
Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co is one of the Chinese technology companies whose products the Executive Yuan blacklisted last year, but the Beijing-backed company has supplied cameras to the council as part of a municipal contract, Huang said.
Huang’s remarks came a day after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung city councilors Chiang Chao-kuo (江肇國) and Huang Shou-ta (黃守達) said that Hikvision also made many of the security cameras installed in underpasses in Taichung.
Photo copied by Ko Yu-hao, Taipei Times
Huang Jie said she raised the issue with DPP Councilor Lin Yu-kai (林于凱) at a council session this year, but to no avail.
Hikvision cameras were awarded numerous contracts prior to the ban due to their low cost, she said.
However, Washington has moved to ban the company’s products from next month, with the US National Defense Authorization Act citing security reasons, she said.
DPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) said that four security cameras issued by the city and installed at his district office are Hikvision products.
The firm’s products are reportedly used by Beijing to monitor Muslim minorities at camps in China’s Xinjiang region.
The cameras in the district office could have given Chinese officials complete access to his activities, Chen said, adding: “The spread of ‘red’ surveillance is a danger to the right to privacy of Taiwanese and national security at every level.”
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) said that the city has no knowledge of owning Hikvision surveillance devices.
However, a Kaohsiung City Council official said that it had bought Chinese cameras before the Executive Yuan issued the ban, adding that the council would comply if the central government orders their removal.
The Taichung Construction Bureau said that Chinese-made security cameras would be removed from city underpasses.
The Taichung City Government is in the process of verifying the maker of its security cameras and 136 Hikvision units have been found so far, the bureau said, adding that one vehicle and nine pedestrian underpasses have been inspected, with 10 remaining.
Contractors that sold Hikvision cameras to Taichung are expected to supply replacements to the city free of charge, the bureau said, adding that it aims to phase out the blacklisted devices within a week.
The city did not realize banned cameras were used, because the contract delivery assessment process only checked the cameras for function, not place of manufacture, the bureau said.
Orders for Taiwan-made security cameras have soared after reports about Hikvision emerged, an industry insider said on condition of anonymity.
Requests to replace security cameras came mostly from high-income households, the source said, adding that one client placed an order for 30 cameras.
Requests to replace security cameras came mostly from people who live in mansions, but also some who use Hikvision cameras at their factories, the source said.
“The client is in the manufacturing sector and owns factories in Taiwan and China, so they are worried about personal privacy and the proprietary technologies of their business,” they said.
Using Chinese security cameras or surveillance systems has inherent risks, as Chinese companies are known to install backdoors in firmware, allowing third-party access to information on connected devices, the source said.
The Taiwanese security technology sector needs to develop facial recognition and biometric algorithms to remain competitive with China, they said.
Additional reporting by Huang Chung-shan and Hsu Kuo-chen
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical
The US’ inclusion of Taiwan in its Indo-Pacific Strategy is geared toward weakening Beijing’s influence in Southeast Asia, as well as providing a Blue Dot Network to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a senior Executive Yuan member said yesterday. Taiwan and the US would be seeking further collaboration on infrastructure construction and energy, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The US and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding on the Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure, Finance and Market Cooperation on Sept. 17, which would see the Ministry of Finance and the US Department of the Treasury establishing respective task