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US sanctions on China's HikVision will hit over 180 countries, including Taiwan

Chinese company's cameras used by Taiwan government and military for years

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Pedestrians are tracked by facial recognition technology from state-owned surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision in Beijing, China. 

Pedestrians are tracked by facial recognition technology from state-owned surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision in Beijing, China.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. is preparing to place sanctions on the world's largest surveillance equipment maker, Hikvision, in a move that would impact more than 180 countries that use the Chinese firm's gear.

The U.S. is reportedly warning its allies of the coming changes, per a Financial Times report. The measures could be disruptive for companies and governments around the world, since any entity that continues to do business with the banned company will violate U.S. sanctions.

Washington has accused Hikvision of enabling the repression of Uyghurs in the country's Xinjiang region. Vietnam, the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., and Brazil are the Hangzhou-based company's top export destinations, per TOP10 VPN.

Hikvision's products have been widely used in Taiwan too.

In 2019, Hikvision supplied roughly a third of Taiwan's security cameras, per UDN. Despite some city councilors raising concerns over the security risk, they have been used by Taiwan government departments and even the country's military.

In July of that year, Taichung city councilors took issue with the high number of Hikvision cameras that watched over Taichung's Taiwan Boulevard, which had triggered data privacy concerns. In response, the Taichung City Government requested the installation company to dismantle the equipment and replace them with cameras made by Taiwan companies.