Numerous agencies using easily hackable Chinese-made surveillance cameras

The whole-of-government response to an order paper question revealed a troubling trend of federal agencies and Crown corporations using Chinese surveillance cameras that have been banned by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

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An order paper question has revealed Canadian government agencies continued to use Chinese-made cameras after they were banned by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission due to security concerns.

The Hikvision-brand surveillance cameras were revealed to be in use at dozens of ministries and Crown corporations, including the Justice Ministry and Infrastructure Canada.

The cameras were banned by the FCC under a 2021 law, the Secure Equipment Act, which is meant to counteract national security threats posed by telecommunications equipment accessible to the Chinese government

A recent appeal of the ban was unsuccessful after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled the FCC acted within its authority. The FCC order banning the companies’ equipment said it applies when used for the “purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes.”

In a normal world, where Canadian policy and politicians aren't bought and sold by Chinese Communist Party influence, Canada would have done the same and banned the easily compromised spy cameras from government offices.

But the Trudeau Liberals did not.

The cameras are in use in many government facilities or were recently removed. One agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS), would not say whether it used, or continues to use, the devices.

The data about the continued use of the Hikvision tech was made available through an order paper question posed by Bloc MP René Villemure, who asked which agencies had used the cameras and which ones still have the surveillance equipment installed.

According to the whole-of-government response, the following said the cameras were being used: Agriculture, Environment, Parks Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Windsor-Detroit Bridge, Immigration, Space Agency, National Research Council Canada, Justice, Veterans, and Military Police Complaints Commission.

On the other hand, the Bank of Canada, Canadian Mint, CBC, Canada Border Services Agency, RCMP, Transport and said the cameras were previously installed but are no longer in use.

Alarmingly, the chief bureaucrats for the cabinet, who routinely get high-level security briefings in the Privy Council Office, only just replaced their Chinese cameras on April 16.

Other departments say they don't know if they have the cameras.

Some departments, however, — like Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada — say Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will answer for them. But PSPC responded that the ministry doesn't purchase cameras — that's up to individual departments.

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