In January, the world was shocked by the shocking announcement that a camera company had secretly bought Fujinons security cameras and cameras for use in the Chinese government’s security system.
The deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, was intended to provide a cheaper way for the Chinese military to collect and store information about its citizens.
But according to a new report from Recode, the story was far from that simple.
The story we’re reporting is that the deal was an illegal, in-house, military-sanctioned scheme to siphon off valuable intelligence from the Chinese Government.
The report cites sources familiar with the deal and a review of documents.
The documents indicate that in the months before the deal went public, Fujinomis CEO, Xu Qijian, was discussing plans to use the cameras to track down, surveil, and hack into government networks, sources told the report.
That’s bad news for all of us.
The camera company has also allegedly attempted to illegally purchase other spyware, including a program that allows Chinese spies to intercept and spy on US citizens.
According to the report, the company is also suspected of illegally buying a network that allows the Chinese Army to collect vast amounts of information on US companies, including social media, and share it with its military and civilian counterparts.
The report does not say what Fujinos equipment it purchased, but a source familiar with that operation told Recode that it is likely a Fujifimic, a Chinese military-grade digital camera that can shoot 4K video and can operate in either color or black and white.
Recode has confirmed the existence of the report and the company’s response.
In a statement, Fujifils spokesperson Michael DeCarlo wrote: “As part of our business operations, we sell products that are approved by the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide military intelligence to our government partners.”
We also asked DeCarla for comment from the U.S. government about whether the Department has approved the purchase of Fujinus cameras for any military purposes.
We asked whether the government has approved any surveillance software that allows military-level surveillance of private communications.
As of this writing, we have not received a response from the DoD.
This story has been updated to clarify the nature of the company that was purchasing the surveillance hardware.