The Mail on Sunday has learned that Chinese security cameras are filming British agents in front of MI6 headquarters.
Hikvision cameras, which are prohibited in US government facilities due to national security concerns, have been mounted on a lamp post across the street from the base’s entrances in London.
Security professionals worried yesterday night that Beijing spies may use the cameras, which can swivel up to 360 degrees and zoom in from a distance of up to 165 feet, to see everyone entering and exiting the headquarters of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency.
Additionally, our investigators discovered Hikvision cameras that might film MI6 employees traveling to and from work positioned in front of the Vauxhall Underground station.
The security gaffe occurred after the Cabinet Office swore to ban Hikvision cameras from being used in any government structures for reasons of national security.
This is due to the suspicion that Hikvision, a state-owned business with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, gave China’s intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), a surveillance back door.
Lambeth Council put the Hikvision cameras close to the MI6 headquarters to keep an eye on local traffic and criminal activity. However, security professionals asked the council to get rid of them right away yesterday night.
Former Army intelligence officer Philip Ingram declared: “The cameras pose a very serious security risk.”
Cameras outside any intelligence agency facility in the UK would be a top target for the Chinese MSS because they might intercept the data that Lambeth Council has acquired.
He said, “Lambeth should get rid of them. No one in our government, in my opinion, should be utilizing cameras made in a nation that may use them against us.
MI6 operatives carry out some of the riskiest missions abroad, including operating agents inside adversarial countries like China and Russia and infiltrating terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda.
Images of the people that work out of the building would be a crucial source of information for enemy spies because of this.
Big Brother Watch activist Madeleine Stone stated: “Hikvision is controlled by the Chinese government and has a history of major security issues. The fact that these cameras are watching them is very humiliating for MI6.
“Everyone’s privacy and security are clearly at risk due to the widespread use of Chinese state-owned surveillance companies,” the report states.
Hikvision must abide by China’s strict National Intelligence Law, which obliges company to provide the MSS access to all information, including stored data.
Human rights organizations are also against the use of Hikvision cameras as the Chinese government employs the company to monitor millions of oppressed Uighur Muslims who reside in concentration camps.
Hikvision cameras were discovered to have been placed inside GCHQ’s northern Manchester headquarters, the government’s eavesdropping agency, last month.
At least eight Hikvision cameras were put all around Heron House, which GCHQ had leased from Manchester City Council.
The MoS previously disclosed the placement of Hikvision cameras at Army barracks and other locations around the nation, including the King’s Sandringham Estate.
All Hikvision cameras in government buildings will be removed, according to the Cabinet Office. It promised to do so and then disclose a timeframe, but it hasn’t done so yet. The Foreign Office, which oversees MI6, said last night that it does not comment on security-related subjects. We contacted Lambeth Council, but they didn’t get back to us.