Aussie Defence Minister orders removal of Chinese surveillance cameras from sensitive government and military locations
Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles has ordered the removal of Chinese surveillance cameras from sensitive government and military locations over national security concerns.
This is according to local broadcaster Nine News, which reported that Marles had announced the inquiry on Thursday after an audit revealed 900 Chinese surveillance cameras were installed at government sites.
Australia is following the US and UK on this action. Last November the British government instructed government departments and locations to halt the deployment of any Chinese CCTV equipment.
The British decision to ban the use of CCTV camera from the likes of Hikvision and Dahua, was down to concern the two firms have links to the Chinese government.
It came after the UK government’s own surveillance camera commissioner, Professor Fraser Sampson, in May 2022 had issued a warning about Chinese-made CCTV cameras, commonly found on British streets.
Professor Fraser Sampson said at the time he was becoming increasingly concerned about the security risks posted by “state-controlled surveillance systems covering our public spaces.”
Indeed, such was his concern, that Professor Sampson warned public sector bodies and local authorities against buying CCTV equipment from Chinese firms including market leader Hikvision.
Now according to Nine News, the Australian government is taking action against Chinese-made CCTV systems from Hikvision and Dahua.
“We’re doing an assessment of all the technology for surveillance within the defence estate and where those particular cameras are found, they’ll be removed,” Marles reportedly told the ABC.
“It’s a significant thing that’s been brought to our attention and we’re going to fix it – it’s obviously been there … for some time and predates us coming into office,” he added.
Marles cautioned the Australian public shouldn’t overreact about the risk of sensitive data being fed to Beijing.
“It’s important that it’s been brought to our attention, it is prudent we do the assessment and act on it,” he told 9News.
Meanwhile Hikvision told the BBC it is “categorically false” to represent them as a threat to national security.
“No respected technical institution or assessment has come to this conclusion,” a spokeswoman reportedly said.
The company reportedly said it cannot access end users’ video data and therefore cannot transmit it to third parties.