Australia to remove Chinese-made cameras from defence sites

According to Australia’s defense minister, some government structures will be “totally secure” by removing Chinese-made security cameras.

It follows similar actions in the US and UK, which have also taken steps to prevent government agencies from deploying cameras built in China at sensitive locations.

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Fears that Chinese businesses would be coerced to share intelligence with Beijing’s security services prompted Britain to take action in November of last year.

According to official statistics provided by an opposition lawmaker, the security cameras were installed in more than 200 Australian government sites, including at least one managed by the Department of Defence.

The huge network of offices and facilities used by the Australian Defense Department, according to Minister of Defence Richard Marles, would be searched for and cleared of all cameras.

“It’s a significant thing that’s been brought to our attention and we’re going to fix it,” he told national broadcaster ABC.

“It’s important that we go through this exercise and make sure that our facilities are completely secure.”

The government-funded national War Memorial — a sprawling 14-hectare (35 acres) complex in Canberra — also confirmed it would remove a small number of Chinese-made cameras out of an “abundance of caution”.

The businesses that produced the cameras, Hikvision and Dahua, have both been placed on a US blacklist.

Because it presented “an intolerable risk to national security,” the US banned the importation of surveillance equipment made by Hikvision and Dahua in November of last year.

Following accusations that Hikvision and Dahua’s equipment had been used to snoop on Uyghurs in Xinjiang, a group of 67 MPs and lords in Britain urged the government to outlaw both companies in July of last year.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock was fired in June 2021 after a Hikvision camera recorded him kissing an assistant in breach of Covid standards.

Hikvision has previously said it was “categorically false” to paint the company as “a threat to national security”.

Since taking office in May of last year, Australia’s center-left government has been working to mend its relationship with China.

At the height of a contentious conflict with the previous conservative administration, China levied significant tariffs on important Australian exports in 2020.

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