Two video surveillance companies highly used in Liberia in private homes, public buildings and businesses have been banned by the US congress for security reasons. Dahua and Hikvision, which are represented in Liberia, are said to be sharing information gathered by their videos with other sources that could cause high security risk for the clients.
The bill banning US government use of Dahua and Hikvision products has been passed by both chambers of Congress. The US president has voiced support for the bill and has been signed into law.
In May this year, the ban was introduced as an amendment to the House version of the NDAA defense appropriations bill. However, at that time, the Senate did not include such a ban, raising hopes by Dahua and Hikvision that the ban would be removed in the reconciliation process. However, reconciliation included the ban and both the House and Senate easily passed the bill with the ban.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains a provision barring U.S. government agencies from purchasing Dahua and Hikvision products, including their OEMs.
With the stroke of a pen on August 13, 2018, President Trump ratified a $716 billion defense policy bill and with it a provision to ban United States government agencies from purchasing video surveillance products made by Dahua and Hikvision, among other telecommunications gear from Chinese firms.
The ban points to rising suspicion in the U.S. and potential cybersecurity threatst. It was included as part of an amendment to the defense bill proposed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).
“We must face the reality that these companies are using every avenue at its disposal to target the United States,” Hartzler said in statement. “Video surveillance and security equipment sold by these companies exposes the U.S. government to significant vulnerabilities and my amendment will ensure that these companies cannot create a video surveillance network within federal agencies.”
Along with the Dahua- and Hikvision-branded equipment portfolios, each company’s extensive OEM or white label agreements also fall under the technology ban, along with any other vendors that use the company’s equipment.
The bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), states the ban will take effect Aug. 13, 2019. Language in the ban on U.S. federal agency procurement includes:
“For the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).”