Letter from BSCC to Dahua April 11, 2022 (accessible)
Marketing director. Dahua Technology Ltd.
By email to: [email protected]
April 11, 2022
Human Rights and Ethical Considerations in Public Space Monitoring Partnership
Thank you for contacting my office with a meeting request to discuss the Secure by Default program.
One of my statutory duties is to promote the CCTV Statutory Code which aims to achieve responsible, proportionate and transparent use of CCTV cameras in public spaces. My mandate extends to all relevant authorities – primarily the police and local authorities – both of which have important shared responsibilities for respecting human rights, promoting equality and acting ethically. in the exercise of their respective public functions. A key part of my role is to provide advice on matters covered by the CCTV Code, one element of which is the default security system introduced by my predecessor.
The use of surveillance of public space by police and local authorities is already one of the most sensitive and controversial aspects of human rights, privacy and data protection. Developments in biometric surveillance technology mean that the ability of organizations and individuals to interfere with the privacy of others is more pervasive and less visible than ever, with some surveillance capabilities even included in Wassenaar’s arrangement to limit the export of dual-use weapons and technology. .
In this context, the direct role played by biometric surveillance technology in facilitating the systematic human rights atrocities revealed by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in July 2021 (in which your company is named) is a major source of concern for local authorities and the police. forces covered by the CCTV Code of Practice and the citizens they serve. In December last year, the Uyghur court heard testimony from a number of sources and found that the Chinese state had committed genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern region of China known as the Xinjiang name, greatly increasing public awareness of both human rights and ethical issues and the role played by the companies that design and supply this technology. The availability of what some consider to be intrusive new technologies such as live facial recognition, artificial intelligence and machine learning/automated decision-making has generated many requests for my office to provide specific advice in this regard. ethical and human rights considerations in sourcing and are deploying such oversight capabilities and many competent authorities are reviewing their oversight partnerships and the extent of their human rights obligations and ethics.
When I spoke at the safety event at the NEC, Birmingham, earlier last week, I stressed that partnerships between competent authorities and the private sector are essential to the lawful, proportionate and responsible use of biometric monitoring technology in England and Wales. As the legitimate role of this technology continues to grow – both in scale and importance – the need for strong and ethical partnerships that reflect the values of our communities, our workforce and our businesses will grow with it. Human rights obligations arising from sourcing and partnering are part of the ‘golden thread’ identified in the UK Government’s guide to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and human rights, which also includes democratic freedoms, good governance and transparency.
If we are to have a meaningful meeting around the Secure by Default program, as you have requested, it will be important for me to understand how you are responding to the concerns of the Committee (and those of the Tribunal) and what steps you are actively taking to promote human relations, rights and ethics so that all competent authorities can be certain that any partnership with your company can, in the words of the Chief Inspector of the Gendarmerie, Fire and Rescue, be ” solidly and lastingly based on trust and the common interest”.
In light of these fundamental issues, I would greatly appreciate it if you could confirm your company’s acknowledgment of the government’s findings: that there is compelling evidence of widespread and systematic human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including the extrajudicial detention of more than one million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in “political re-education camps” since 2017; systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam; extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities and credible evidence of forced labor inside and outside Xinjiang, and forced birth suppression. I would also appreciate if you could confirm the extent of your company’s involvement in these camps and the monitoring activity that supports their operation.
In the interest of transparency, I will place a copy of this letter (and your response) on my website. Once these questions have been answered, I will be happy to arrange a meeting with you to discuss Secure by Default and any other relevant questions.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Professor Fraser Sampson
Commissioner for biometrics and surveillance cameras