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Amsterdam replacing 1,280 Chinese surveillance cameras out of fear of espionage

Within the next five years, the city of Amsterdam is going to replace all 1,280 surveillance cameras which were produced by Chinese companies. Concerns have been raised about espionage and human rights violations by the manufacturers.

Chinese surveillance cameras are found everywhere in Amsterdam. It’s been a thorn in the side of the city council for years, who’s worried that the cameras pose a potential safety risk.

The cameras might be used by the manufacturers to spy on behalf of the Chinese government. There are also concerns that the cameras have been produced in regions where human rights are being violated.

Suleyman Aslami, a member of the city council for D66, submitted a motion in March last year, calling for a large-scale investigation into possible espionage practices and human rights violations by the Chinese production companies.

“There are concerns about possible involvement of Chinese camera manufacturers in human rights violations. They could also be used to pass on camera images to the Chinese government,” he said at the time. A majority of the council supported the request to look into the matter.

Last May, city council adopted a motion calling on city hall to no longer use Chinese-made cameras.

‘Market needs to find alternatives for Chinese surveillance cameras’

Alderman Alexander Scholtes, responsible for IT and Digital City, says he’s going to remove and replace all surveillance cameras produced by Chinese manufacturers.

In a letter addressed to city council, which was seen by local news outlet AT5, he points out that the replacement process is going to be expensive because of the depreciation costs and annulment of all contracts that are currently in effect.

Replacing all 1,280 Chinese surveillance cameras is therefore going to take up to five years. Despite the high costs Scholtes thinks it’s a wonderful idea. “We want to send a strong signal to the market to find alternatives for Chinese surveillance cameras,” he says.

Aslami was thrilled to hear the news. “It’s great that Amsterdam is going to stop using Chinese surveillance cameras. There are serious human rights and security risks associated with the use of this equipment,” he said in a statement on his website.

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