Australia Strips Chinese-Made Surveillance Cameras from Politicians’ Offices
Now you see them, now you don’t. Australian officials have begun stripping Chinese-made surveillance cameras from politicians’ offices just days after it was revealed some government buildings are having the same treatment to ensure they are “completely secure.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the neighbourhood offices of almost 100 federal politicians across the country will be impacted.
At least 913 Chinese-made security cameras have been installed across more than 250 Australian government buildings, including the Department of Defence’s facilities, according to figures released last week.
Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles told national broadcaster ABC all these cameras within his department’s buildings would be removed, saying it was to “make sure that our facilities are completely secure.”
Officials from the Department of Finance on Tuesday confirmed they will follow suit, revealing a further 65 closed-circuit television systems had been installed within offices used by Australian politicians.
While the department had been gradually replacing the cameras as part of a broader security upgrade, at least 40 systems still needed to be stripped out, the department said, adding they would be complete the task by April.
Canberra’s move follows the United States and Britain which have both taken measures to stop government departments from installing Chinese-made cameras at sensitive sites.
Britain acted in November last year due to fears Chinese companies could be forced to share intelligence with Beijing’s security services, as Breitbart News reported.
It was also claimed the Chinese units can pick up sound with hidden microphones, with this capability able to be activated remotely, according to the British government’s “snooping tsar.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce says prime manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua have been implicated in the “high-technology surveillance” of the Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region.
The U.S .banned imports of surveillance equipment made by the two companies last year after saying it posed “an unacceptable risk to national security”.
Hikvision has said it was “categorically false” to paint the company as “a threat to national security,” AFP reports.
In turn, Beijing has accused Australia of “misusing national might to discriminate against and suppress Chinese enterprises”.
“We hope Australia will provide a fair, just and nondiscriminatory environment for the normal operations of Chinese enterprises,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.