Concerns have been raised about the camera system made by a company linked to the Chinese Communist Party and used in Ireland’s Parliament.
A human rights organization sent a letter this weekend to highlight concerns over the use of Hikvision surveillance cameras inside and outside Dublin’s Houses of the Oireachtas.
Hikvision is banned in several Western jurisdictions and institutions due to security concerns. This week Australia removed hundreds of the company’s cameras from its defense sites over national security concerns.
In November, the US government said it was banning telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from several leading Chinese brands, including Hikvision, in an effort to protect its communications network.
Hikvision security cameras were also banned from UK government buildings in November.
In a letter to the Oireachtas Committee this weekend, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), along with political party leaders, expressed concern that the Chinese Communist Party is a controlling stakeholder in Hikvision, saying its devices in Italy had sent data back to China.
“In addition to the risk of cameras in the Oireachtas reporting back to China, security researchers regularly find new vulnerabilities that allow hackers to take full control of various types of Hikvision cameras,” said ICCL’s technology officer Dr Kris Shrishak. .
“Hackers can record what the cameras see and possibly hear.
“ICCL observed Hikvision cameras directly in the Oireachtas buildings and on the grounds. The cameras are placed in locations where they can record video of TDs, senators and staff, and their private conversations. They can also record what was said,” he added.
The ICCL also said that Hikvision is involved in “serious” human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province — claims the company has previously denied.
The council has asked whether a security risk assessment, human rights risk assessment and data protection impact assessment have been carried out on the use of Hikvision cameras, whether the assessments will be made public and whether the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission will now respond “urgently”. remove all Hikvision cameras and equipment.
Hikvision has been contacted for comment.