Hikvision resigns its SIA membership

July 21, 2021
Company says it no longer wants to be a member alongside IPVM

Editor's note: Updated with comments from IPVM. 

China-based video surveillance manufacturer Hikvision is resigning its membership in the Security Industry Association (SIA) because the company says it has reached the point where it no longer wants to share membership in the organization alongside security industry publication IPVM, a person with knowledge of the matter has confirmed to SecurityInfoWatch.com (SIW).

In a resignation letter obtained by SIW, Hikvision said that it looks to remain an “integral part of the U.S. security industry” moving forward and to possibly working with SIA in the future.

“Over the past decade, Hikvision has valued and enjoyed being a member of SIA. We have proudly partnered with fellow member companies in helping raise public awareness about the positive value the security industry brings to society by protecting people and property throughout the United States,” the letter read. “As part of this journey, we have also created hundreds of well-paying jobs and worked with tens of thousands of talented and committed integrators and installers who are really the heart of this industry – our industry.”

However, the surveillance giant said the continued actions of IPVM, which has long railed against the use of Hikvision technologies for various reasons, have become too much to bear and which they believe could even “diminish” SIA as an institution.   

“It has been disappointing and frustrating to witness the cynical, anti-competitive, unscrupulous, and disingenuous efforts of IPVM to target member companies and undermine the mission of SIA with its invective and opaque financial motives. For example, IPVM obtained an associate membership into SIA and leveraged that into Board seats and other spheres of influence within the organization. No doubt, these bullies have intimidated and silenced many in the industry.”

In a statement, SIA CEO Don Erickson said that the association respects the decisions its member organizations make relative to their membership statuses.  

“For the SIA team, each day starts and ends with uniquely engaging our members through the delivery of impactful programs and compelling content that exceeds their expectations,” the statement read. “As a result, we are fortunate to maintain a very high annual membership retention rate. That being said, we respect the decision of any member to change its membership status.”

With regards to the allegation levied by Hikvision that IPVM has leveraged its position as a member to attain SIA board seats, Erickson told SIW that IPVM is a “regular member” and that they serve on the Government Relations Committee, however; they do not have a leadership role on that committee, nor do they have a board seat.     

Hikvision even went so far as to point to IPVM’s negative coverage as efforts that helped to undergird the recent regulatory actions that have been taken against it and other companies by the federal government.

“IPVM has harassed and maligned fellow members of SIA via a coordinated effort, from unethical hacking of Hikvision cameras, to misleading blog stories about those hacks, to surreptitiously seeding those stories in mainstream media sources, to then using those stories as the basis for lobbying efforts at the FCC and Congress to effectively ban fellow SIA members from U.S. markets,” the letter continues. “This is not the behavior of a member living out the ideals of professionalism, respect, honesty, integrity, transparency, and good faith that all SIA members are called to respect.”

While Hikvision praised SIA’s efforts to help create a conducive business and regulatory environment for the entire industry, the company believes it too has been turned against it now by IPVM.   

“Yet the antics and agenda of IPVM, as an associate member of the SIA, has itself compromised the SIA’s operating system and placed its own infected code into the organization, turning what should be an advocate for the actual industry into an advocate against Hikvision as we try to compete fairly in the marketplace,” the letter states.

IPVM Founder John Honovich told SIW that Hikvision is blaming IPVM as an excuse to the leave the organization rather than run the risk of being expelled like their rival Dahua was last month over alleged ethics violations.  

"Hikvision hides that it was under investigation for violating the SIA ethics code, based on a complaint we filed four months ago, on March 15, 2021. Hikvision, like Dahua which SIA recently expelled, has a long track record of unethical behavior and human rights abuses. Rather than risk being expelled, Hikvision has chosen to quit and blame IPVM. That is what Hikvision does," Honovich said in a statement. "Hikvision alleges that it did not 'knowingly' or 'intentionally' commit human rights abuses despite having direct contracts to build and operate these systems. Hikvision alleges that its joint PLA China Army research to improve the 'lethality' of missiles was done by its workers in their 'personal capacity.' And when Hikvision specifically marketed "Uyghur" detecting cameras on its own website it alleged its own website was incorrect. IPVM is proud of our efforts to expose unethical actions around the world."

About the Author: 

Joel Griffin is the Editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a veteran security journalist. You can reach him at [email protected].