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Australia is removing a popular Chinese security camera brand Hikvision from government and enterprise use. But Hikvision is back under the name EZVIZ.

EZVIZ is 100% owned by Hikvision and focuses on getting into the consumer and small business space.

The Australian National Law Review reports the Federal Government will remove all Hikvision cameras from all Government, Military, Police, Health and Education use. The State Governments should follow suit.

This follows the US Blacklisting of EZVIZ/Hikvision in October 2019. It alleges that the cameras form a spying network accessible by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On 13 August 2020, it formally banned EZVIZ/Hikvision and called on it to stop using facial and biometric recognition of its citizens.

EZVIZ

BTW – Hikvision and Dahua (another banned security brand) were widely sold in Australia. We understand that past resellers have dumped the brand, and the sole sales distributor is closely connected to Hikvision.

Here is what we know about EZVIZ

We reported on EZVIZ and Hikvision ownership in October 2018.

EZVIZ is a 100% subsidiary of Hikvision.

EZVIZ (Est. 2013) describes itself as a Californian-based smart home security company. It provides features like facial recognition to identify who’s at your door

EZVIZ has no retail bricks and mortar presence in Australia selling via Amazon.com US or the EZVIZ website. Incidentally, its website re-directs to the US website to make it look kosher.

EZVIZ is a Chinese-state-owned company heavily marked as a ‘US product’ via social media. It employs PR companies across the globe to present its US-centric message issuing releases headed “California …”

Its privacy policy is way too far-reaching for an IoT product.

EZVIZ may use your personal information for its legitimate interests. What about your legitimate interests?

It is far more about data harvesting than we consider necessary for an IoT device. We would have to make it clear in any reviews that Australian’s should not agree to it. Certainly, in the present climate, Australian’s should not agree to any security footage in a China-based cloud.

Whitewashed image is just wrong says CNET

CNET said (paraphrased)

“EZVIZ’s presence at CES gives them a global platform and an opportunity to present themselves as a friendly, tech-savvy organisation. It lends them an air of legitimacy right after the US government sanctioned them.”

“It is deeply disturbing that EZVIZ …  can showcase their technology and products at a major tech show and clean up their public image”, said Albert Fox Cahn, director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.

Beware – a lot of Chinese companies are now US-washing to get over any potential backlash against trade sanctions.

GadgetGuy’s take – Fact: EZVIZ is Hikvision

A tsunami of Chinese brands have recently asked us to review their products. That is fine as China makes the lion’s share of IT and IoT.

These include EZVIZ, EUFY, Dahua, Anker, Smart, Reolink, InOmega, StarCam, Zosi, Skyhawk and many products sold by merchants on Amazon, Kogan, Dick Smith, eBay to name but a few. The problem is that many of these OEMs white label for other brands.

We ask a few simple questions before accepting a review invitation

  • Does it require a sign-on account?
  • What personally identifiable information (PII) does it harvest?
  • Does it use PII to advertise either itself or its ‘business partners’ to you?
  • What is the location of its cloud storage?
  • Will you provide firmware and security updates?
  • Where is the privacy policy URL?
  • What retailers (physical or online) does it have here (we do not consider Amazon.com US as a local retailer)
  • How does it support/warrant products sold here?
  • Does it offer ACL compliant warranty including covering freight both ways if the goods require repair or return?

Upon receiving appropriate answers, we will happily review the item. So far in the IoT space, that is 100% zero.

Without fail things like security cameras, routers, IoT devices (especially things that can access the home network), health devices, and so much more want intimate access to PII. It is even worse when you can sign in via Facebook, Google, WeChat etc. This is all far more than is necessary for the operation of the device.

These brands are nothing more than potential sell-and-forget, spy back doors. Please don’t ask us why the CCP wants your data.

Apart from Arlo, Google Nest, Ring (Amazon), Swann and Uniden the majority store user data on Chinese servers.

In the camera space, Arlo leads with its privacy as a pledge.