Two U.S. lawmakers have asked retail giant Costco why it continues to sell surveillance equipment made by Lorex, despite warnings of cybersecurity risks and links to human rights abuses.
The bipartisan letter dated October 31, sent by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ, 4th) and Sen.
(D-OR), said Costco’s continued sale of Lorex products is “all the more puzzling,” given several of its retail rivals have long discontinued selling the technology citing human rights and ethical sourcing concerns.
The lawmakers added that the sale of Lorex equipment conflicts with Costco’s public commitments prohibiting international human rights abuses in its supply chain, according to the letter sent to Costco’s chief executive Walter Craig Jelinek.
Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowe’s removed Lorex products from their shelves following our inquiries, but Costco did not.
Lorex was until recently a subsidiary owned by China-based company Dahua.
In 2019, Dahua was added to the U.S. government’s economic sanctions list, alongside Hikvision, after both companies were accused of profiteering from selling technology linked to China’s ongoing efforts to suppress ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, where millions of Uighur Muslims live.
The U.S. accused China relies on technology makers, like Dahua and Hikvision, to surveil the population, calling the human rights abuses in Xinjiang “genocide.”
The lawmakers say that Lorex products also present a “known security risk,” citing recent security flaws found in its products, and the company’s apparent legal requirement to comply with China’s intelligence law upon request.
The lawmakers also asked for details about Costco’s sale of seafood from Chinese companies that allegedly used forced labor to catch and process seafood for U.S. buyers.