Hikvision President Chats With SSI About Cybersecurity, Privacy Concerns
SSI spoke with Hikvision’s Jeffrey He about cybersecurity, growing R&D and accusations of the company providing a backdoor for the Chinese government.
What cybersecurity-related threats and challenges are you facing regarding networked physical security?
The cyber threat is real for all manufacturers, including Hikvision. At Hikvision we always stand up and take responsibility and we always will. While some do a lot of talking, we’re taking action every day to make Hikvision products as secure as possible.
Constant improvement is built into our product development processes. In addition to our Network and Information Security Lab, The Hikvision Security Response Center, ISO/IEC 27001 certification, and Hikvision Security Center, we have a new cybersecurity expert, responsible for talking to integrators and understanding their concerns.
In the case of a security issue, this person works directly with our expert team in China to do whatever we can to mitigate the situation and help the customer find an immediate solution.
In the rare instances where a situation has arisen we’ve taken immediate, bold action to solve the problem. We take the lead and set the example for others to follow, and we’re able to do that because of the strength and depth of Hikvision’s organization and R&D.
I want to take a minute to discuss an important topic. When you mention cybersecurity and Hikvision, some people imply or come right out and say that we intend to provide a backdoor in our products for the Chinese government. This speculation is laughable at best and clearly serves political and financial agendas of those promoting it. I’ve yet to hear a Western company accused of being in business to provide a
backdoor to a government.
Hikvision adheres to the highest ethical standards. We have sold tens of millions of network-connected devices, edge cameras, NVRS globally.
We have not received any reports from any country that Hikvision products put out a backdoor to any government. The backdoor claims are hogwash.
Why would an online blogger site seek to vilify the intentions of a commercial Chinese business, but not the intentions of a commercial Western business? We all know why. It’s a willful distortion of facts in an apparent attempt to win blogger clicks and financial gain.
Online bloggers and Genetec also seek to distort facts about Hikvision ownership. Our ownership structure is public information. We are a public company.
Online bloggers seek to instill fear with talk of SOEs, which stands for state-owned enterprises. In China, there are millions of SOEs at the state, provincial and city level. Hikvision is not itself an SOE. Like many other companies in China, it is partially owned (42 percent share) by two SOEs.
While they’re much less common here, the U.S. and Canada have many companies with some contractual ties to the government. For example there’s Boeing Aircraft, which sell 26 percent of its products to China.
Can you talk about Genetec requiring a special license for Hikvision cameras?
This restricted license has absolutely nothing to do with Hikvision, and everything to do with the personal, political agenda of Genetec’s leadership.
It’s really ironic when you consider how Genetec’s marketing focuses on Genetec being an open system, and now, all of the sudden Genetec decides to disconnect from certain products to the network.
That is not something that can be easily understood. I feel sorry for Genetec employees who are forced to acquiesce to the Genetec leader’s personal and political interests. That’s very unfortunate.
We’ve seen the Genetec leader perform a lot of ostentatious hand-wringing and engage in a lot of inflammatory rhetoric, but he has yet to produce one iota of evidence that Genetec’s licensing decision is based on product technology.
In my opinion, Genetec is playing dirty politics and not very well. They handpicked Hikvision and Huawei, two Chinese companies. Perhaps they believe we’re an easy target, or perhaps it’s a feeble effort to deter our entry into the mid to high-end market segment.
Whatever his twisted motive, Genetec’s leadership is running fast in the wrong direction.
What comes around goes around as they say. And, when a CEO of a company tries to play dirty politics the unfortunate consequence is that business and employees suffer as a result. The good news for Hikvision integrators is that we’re partnered with many truly open VMS vendors.
I’d also like to add that Hikvision has accumulated tremendous experience in developing and tailoring VMS in almost all verticals in China. The scale and complexity of what we’ve done in China cannot be matched by a software such as Genetec.
Part of our long-term strategy is to start to compete with Genetec globally.
What emerging video surveillance opportunities have you noticed?
Of course, Hikvision is always working on better compression, better analytics, higher resolution and higher performance. In terms of emerging technologies, deep learning is very interesting.
Thanks to technological advancements and competitive pricing, Hikvision cameras are installed on city streets, in commercial buildings and in key critical infrastructure. These are the applications where more advanced analytics and intelligence will provide “deep learning” capabilities.
The technology will actually be able to predict behaviors and also help security professionals and law enforcement instantly find the information they need.
This kind of technology is also extremely useful for business intelligence, to help a business enhance operations and be more profitable. It’s a way that security systems can provide ROI and additional non-security-related benefits.
On the analog side, I think we all know that traditional analog is fading out, but there are still technologies such as TVI, which help integrators provide excellent video surveillance using current infrastructure.
In the SMB market TVI will help, but IP-based technology will continue to grow for the market segment.
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