The Dangers of Sweeping Surveillance

Jun 24, 2022 12:00 AM

Out of most of the news articles posted in the past decade, one of the ones that I’ve been following the most pertains to the security camera debacle which includes Hikvision and Dahua, among a few others. And some people think they’re good because they don’t, or have never owned a security camera system under either of those names.

For a little backstory on what has been going on. In 2019, under Trump’s administration, Hikvision and a few others were barred from being used to fulfill federal government contracts. While this action didn’t effect consumers as much as the Secure Networks Act of 2021 (signed into law by President Biden on November 11, 2021) will once its effects are realized.

The Secure Networks Act forbids the FCC to issue new authorizations to companies with ties to the Chinese government in the video surveillance and physical security segments. Also, it grants the FCC authority to revoke current authorizations. Currently it hasn’t exercised its newfound authority, so for the time being companies which already have it are okay to sell for the most part.

If that does change meanwhile, keep in mind that the following common brands could also be effected by the revocations of said authorizations:

Dahua:

Hikvision:

And yes, all of those I’ve spotted in the wild even though I don’t formally work in video surveillance or security. Though sometimes homeowners will ask me for recommended brands if they were to DIY a video surveillance system. Another thing to note is those are just two OEM brands, I wasn’t able to find line cards on the others covered under the lists.

If the FCC decides to revoke authorizations on short notices, time will tell how quickly they can pickup non-covered OEM’s. But my best guess is such actions will send shockwaves throughout the segments effected, and likely cause supply disruptions for essential security and surveillance equipment for years to come.

The reason why I say this is because, as these OEM’s get restricted or eliminated, the OEM’s not subjected to the ban will get flooded with applications from retail brands, and even if they can approve them in time, it can take up to 2 years to build ONE new factory with the current EPA, FTC, and FCC rules in place. So with a whole slew of retail brands, selling millions of products a year each, being funneled into a smaller amount of factories for productions, you can expect supply disruptions and price gouging to occur regularly for a long time.

Even though I’m not a fan of Chinese-made surveillance equipment, choosing now to make a stand on this when crime is trending upwards due to the current inflation scenario plus the ongoing chip and PCB shortage, will hurt homeowners, small business owners, and general consumers even more than it has to.