Australian Defense Department to remove Chinese-made cameras

Australian Defense Department to remove Chinese-made cameras

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Department of Defense will remove surveillance cameras made by companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party from its buildings, the government announced Thursday after the United States and Britain took similar measures.

The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday that at least 913 cameras, intercoms, electronic entry systems and video recorders developed and manufactured by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua are in Australian government offices and agencies, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Hikvision and Dahua are partly owned by the Chinese Communist Party-led government.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China’s general response to such measures is to defend its high-tech companies as good corporate citizens who abide by all local laws and play no role in government or party intelligence gathering.

The US government said in November it was banning telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from several major Chinese brands, including Hikvision and Dahua, in a bid to protect the country’s communications network.

Security cameras made by Hikvision were also banned from UK government buildings in November.

Defense Minister Richard Marles said his department was evaluating all of its surveillance technology.

“Where those particular cameras are, they’re going to be taken down,” Marles told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“There is a problem here and we will fix it,” added Marles.

An audit revealed that Hikvision and Dahua cameras and security equipment were found in almost all departments except the Agriculture Department and the Prime Minister and Cabinet Department.

The Australian War Memorial and the National Disability Insurance Agency said they would remove Chinese cameras found at their sites, the ABC reported.

Opposition cybersecurity spokesman James Paterson said he triggered the audit by asking questions about six months from each federal agency, after the Home Office failed to was able to tell how many cameras, access control systems and intercoms were installed in government buildings.

“We urgently need a plan from the government… to rip every one of these devices out of Australian government departments and agencies,” Paterson said.

Both companies were subject to China’s national intelligence law which requires them to cooperate with Chinese intelligence agencies, he said.

“We would have no way of knowing if the sensitive information, images and sound collected by these devices are secretly sent back to China against the interests of Australian citizens,” Paterson said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *