Australia’s Defense Department announced that they will remove surveillance cameras made by Chinese firms linked to the government of Beijing.
Australia’s Defense Department is going to replace surveillance cameras made by Chinese firms Hikvision and Dahua, who are linked to the government of Beijing.
The decision of the Australian government is aligned with similar decisions taken by the US and UK governments.
An internal audit of surveillance equipment in Australian government and agency offices revealed the presence of more than 900 built systems manufactured by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua.
“Where those particular cameras are found, they’re going to be removed,” Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “There is an issue here and we’re going to deal with it.”
The presence of cameras poses an unacceptable risk to national security.
“That [risk has] obviously been there, I might say, for some time and predates us coming into office but, that said, it’s important that we go through this exercise and make sure that our facilities are completely secure,” Marles added.
The audit conducted by the shadow cybersecurity minister, James Paterson, revealed that there are 195 Chinese-made surveillance devices used by the Attorney General’s Department across 29 locations. There are 154 more at the Department of Climate Change and Energy and 134 more at social services offices.
“ASIO Director General Mike Burgess has said the data collected by Hikvision and Dahua cameras ‘and where it would end up and what else it could be used for, would be of great concern to me and my agency’,” Paterson said. “Our Aukus partners and closest security allies, the United States and UK, announced in November 2022 that they were banning the devices from all government buildings because of the national security threat that they pose.”
The Guardian reported that Paterson raised concerns there may be Chinese cameras inside Parliament House, but he has yet to receive confirmation from the Department of Social Services.
“On Wednesday the newly appointed chair of the Australian War Memorial, Kim Beazley, confirmed that several Chinese-made security cameras would be removed from the location in “an abundance of caution”.” reported The Guardian.
The Chinese government is disappointed by this decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning defined this move as “wrongful practices that overstretch the concept of national security and abuse state power to suppress and discriminate against Chinese enterprises.”
[Chinese government has] “always encouraged Chinese enterprises to carry out foreign investment and cooperation in accordance with market principles and international rules, and on the basis of compliance with local laws.” Mao said.
“We hope Australia will provide a fair and non-discriminatory environment for the normal operation of Chinese enterprises and do more things that are conducive to mutual trust and cooperation between the two sides,”
In November 2022, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the total ban on telecom and surveillance equipment from Chinese companies Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua due to an “unacceptable” national security threat. In the same month, the British government ordered its departments to stop installing security cameras, manufactured by Dahua and Hikvision, at sensitive buildings due to security risks. The Government ordered departments to disconnect the camera from core networks and to consider removing them.
Both Hikvision and Dahua are also on the Covered List maintained by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Covered List, published by Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau published, included products and services that could pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.
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