About Security Cameras
Not so long ago, only big corporate offices and places like parking garages and banks could afford security cameras. The Internet changed this, of course. Now, all you need is a camera that connects to the Internet, and you can protect your house against burglars, vandals, wild animals, and other unwanted guests. What used to cost hundreds of thousand of dollars can now by yours for only a few hundred dollars. Hooray, right?
Well, not really. Ironically, the very system you set up to protect yourself from a handful of your local neer-do-wells may be inadvertently inviting thousands and thousands of unsavory people from around the world, whether a hacker the next town over in his parent’s basement, or a government surveillance operations thousands of miles away.
Are Security Camera in China More Dangerous than ones made elsewhere?
My gut tells me that no, security cameras manufactured in China (at least by non-China brands) aren’t inherently more “dangerous” than others, at least when they’re not connected to the Internet. While it’s certainly possible to build software backdoors to allow superuser access, if the brand is a legitimate brand you’d hope that their engineers would be able to spot any attempts to inject malicious code into the product they deliver.
But the problem is, we just don’t know. We do know that the Chinese government loves to surveil its own population. In 2005, they created the ironically-named “Skynet”, a network of 20 million cameras aimed at monitoring the general public. Over the years, they improved their systems to include facial recognition technology, drones, social media monitoring, and crowdsourcing of surveillance through mobile phone cameras. By the end of this year, it’s estimated that the number of surveillance cameras will exceed 1 billion. According to the CCP, this is all in the name of fighting crime. But conveniently, cameras are placed in strategic places like Tibet, Xinjiang, and the homes of any dissident with any kind of reach. And of course, now that Hong Kong is under China’s control, all of this technology is getting built up there too.