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Amsterdam to stop using Chinese CCTV, traffic cameras over spying concerns

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Amsterdam: The municipality of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam will stop using cameras made in China over concerns about human rights violations and spying, Dutch newspaper NL Times reported, citing city council member Alexander Scholtes.

In May 2023, the Amsterdam city council passed a motion calling on local authorities to stop using Chinese-made cameras over concerns that they transmit images to the manufacturer, the Chinese government, or both, the report said on Monday.

Scholtes, who deals with issues related to the city’s information and communications technology policy, said in a letter to the city council that Chinese cameras will be phased out in Amsterdam within five years, the report said. Currently, the city uses 1,280 Chinese cameras to perform various “municipal tasks,” including surveillance or monitoring traffic on the roads, the report added.

There are also “concerns about the possible involvement of Chinese camera manufacturers in human rights violations in China, including against Uyghurs,” Scholtes said in the letter.

However, the Amsterdam municipality does not plan to immediately replace all Chinese cameras due to the high costs, the newspaper reported, adding that the government intends to develop new contract conditions for the purchase of surveillance systems, which will include clauses regarding human rights.

In April, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service said that a cyberthreat from Russia and China increased last year, with semiconductor, aerospace and maritime industries increasingly becoming targets for Chinese espionage.

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