China-linked Security Cameras

Australia to Remove China-linked Security Cameras from Defence Offices over Spying Concerns

The Australian government will examine surveillance technology used in offices of the defence department, Defence Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday, amid reports the Chinese-made cameras installed there raised security risks.

The action was taken after Britain asked its departments in November to stop placing surveillance cameras with Chinese connections in sensitive locations. Several Chinese technology companies’ products and vendors have been outlawed in some US states.

“This is an issue and … we’re doing an assessment of all the technology for surveillance within the defence [department] and where those particular cameras are found, they are going to be removed,” In an interview with ABC Radio, Marles stated.

James Paterson, a lawmaker from the opposition, claimed on Thursday that an audit he conducted had found that more than 250 Australian government offices had almost 1,000 pieces of equipment installed by two partially state-owned Chinese companies, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology Co.

The government was urged by Paterson, the shadow minister for cybersecurity and preventing foreign interference, to immediately come up with a plan to get rid of all such cameras.

Marles said the issue was significant but “We shouldn’t exaggerate it, in my opinion.”

Australian media reported on Wednesday that the national war memorial in Canberra would take down several security cameras that were installed on the property and were made in China out of privacy concerns.

Requests for comment from Hikvision and Dahua Technology did not receive an immediate response.

Australia and China have been looking to mend diplomatic ties which soured after Canberra in 2018 banned Huawei from its 5G broadband network. Following Australia’s request for a separate investigation into the causes of Covid-19, that cooled even more.

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