Campaign win: Tesco announces plans to phase out Hikvision

The Chinese security giant will see its equipment removed from supermarkets following a letter from Free Tibet and allies.

The campaign to ban Hikvision from the UK has seen another massive win with the news that Tesco will be phasing out the company’s security cameras from its supermarkets.

The news was confirmed in a letter from Tesco’s CEO to Big Brother Watch, Free Tibet, Hong Kong Watch and Stop Uyghur Genocide on 16 March.

The four organisations had contacted Tesco, along with the Co-op and Marks and Spencer, in February to raise the company’s use of security equipment by Chinese companies Dahua and Hikvision.

In their joint letter, the organisations raised the fact that both companies have been found to be complicit in state repression in Hong Kong, Tibet and the Uyghur region and that they had been blacklisted in the United States for the use of their technology in internment camps.

They added that the UK government now saw technology by these companies as a security risk, with the Cabinet Office recommending last November that surveillance equipment made by “companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China” be removed government departments. The UK parliament is due to debate an amendment to the Procurement Bill that would see the government required to provide a timeframe for the removal of such surveillance technology.

In his response, Tesco CEO Jason Tarry stated that as soon as he became aware of the allegations of human rights violations connected to Dahua and Hikvision, Tesco began “the process of transitioning to new suppliers.”

This move by Tesco follows actions by local councils across the UK to remove Hikvision cameras, including Edinburgh and Kent Councils.

Several government departments have also committed to removing their Hikvision cameras, although recent investigations have found that some departments continue to have Hikvision cameras mounted on their buildings, including the Department of Health and Social Care, which stated last April that it would be banning Hikvision.

At least 1.2 million Hikvision cameras are believed to be across the UK and are being used by over 200 local councils, as well as hospitals, police forces, schools and at army barracks.

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