Chinese CCTV Equipment in Watford Raises Spying Concerns


Chinese CCTV Equipment in Watford Raises Spying Concerns

Concerns about the use of Chinese CCTV equipment in Watford, after it was revealed that these installed cameras were made by Hikvision and Dahua and could be part of China’s global surveillance operation.

The United Kingdom, is home to a large number of CCTV cameras in British offices, high streets and even government buildings. Many of these cameras are made by Chinese companies, such as Hikvision and Dahua.

Some 227 councils and 15 police forces use Hikvision, and 35 councils use Dahua cameras, a Freedom of Information request found.

Dahua cameras are used outside and inside Watford Town Hall.
Watford Subway and the Town Hall have these all over.

Security experts fear the cameras have the potential to be used as a Trojan horse to play havoc with computer networks, which in turn could spark civil disruption.

Prof Fraser Sampson, the UK’s surveillance camera commissioner, warns the country’s critical infrastructure – including power supplies, transport networks and access to fresh food and water – is vulnerable.

We visited Watford High Street, and the Town Hall and nearly half were one of those brands mentioned.

Two Hikvision cameras are installed at the entrance to Watford County & Family Court, which is adjacent to the New Police Station.

Two Hikvision cameras are installed at the entrance to Watford County & Family Court, which is adjacent to the New Police Station.

The BBC Panorama program even revealed new details about Beijing’s fleet of spy balloons and hacked a Chinese-made security camera to show how similar devices that line our streets could be exploited.  They also found secret Chinese police stations in the UK which hunt and harass those who have fled Hong Kong to England for safety.

The UK government has not banned the use of Chinese CCTV equipment, but there are growing calls for it to do so. In a recent report, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned that Chinese CCTV equipment could be exploited by Chinese intelligence agencies to spy on people in the UK.

In 2018, the United States government banned the use of Hikvision and Dahua equipment on government property. The ban was issued over concerns that the companies could be used to collect intelligence on US citizens.

There is no evidence that Chinese CCTV equipment in Watford is currently being used for spying. However, the potential for this to happen is a concern. If the Chinese government were to gain access to the footage from these cameras, they could use it to track the movements of people in Watford, collect information about their activities, and identify potential threats.

The UK government has not banned the use of Chinese CCTV equipment. However, they have issued guidance to businesses and organizations that use this equipment, warning them of the potential risks.


If you are concerned that your CCTV may have been breached and spying, you can contact your local council or police force to express your concerns.

You can also take steps to protect your privacy. For example, you can cover your face when you are in public, and you can be careful about what information you share online.

The potential for Chinese CCTV equipment to be used for spying is a serious concern. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to protect your privacy, you can help to keep your information safe.

In addition to the concerns about spying, there are also concerns about the security of Chinese CCTV equipment. In 2019, a security researcher found that Hikvision cameras could be easily hacked. The researcher was able to gain access to the cameras’ live feeds and control their settings.

These security concerns have led some people to call for a ban on Chinese CCTV equipment in the UK. However, the government has so far resisted these calls.

The debate over Chinese CCTV equipment is likely to continue. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, the potential for security and privacy risks will also increase. It is essential to be aware of these risks and to take steps to protect yourself.

These are the same as the Chinese CCTV cameras which caught Matt Hancock’s kiss with an aide, on Hikvision-made CCTV cameras in May 2021.

These were supposedly due to be banned from government buildings after Rishi Sunak’s government made concessions to rebel Tory MPs.

Hikvision told BBC Panorama “says its devices were not deliberately programmed with this flaw and it points out that it released a firmware update to address it almost immediately after it was made aware of the issue. It adds that Panorama’s test is not representative of devices that are operating today.”
But Conor Healy says more than 100,000 cameras online worldwide are still vulnerable to this issue.

Oliver Dowden issued the order to ban surveillance equipment made by firms subject to Beijing’s security laws (PA)

In November 2022, Mr Dowden told MPs: “The Government Security Group has undertaken a review of the current and future possible security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on the government estate.

“The review has concluded that, in light of the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required.

“Departments have therefore been instructed to cease deployment of such equipment on to sensitive sites, where it is produced by companies subject to the national intelligence law of the People’s Republic of China.

“Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks materialising.”

Mr Dowden said “no such equipment should be connected to departmental core networks” and ministries should consider whether they should immediately remove and replace such equipment from sensitive sites, rather than wait for scheduled upgrades.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Discover more from Wat News

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading