Australia’s Department of Defense will rip out cameras made by Chinese manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua while the government considers whether to ban their use across all federal agencies.
Government use of security gear made by the Chinese manufacturers turned into political controversy Thursday after Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson pressed the government of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party. Paterson said his office has uncovered more than 900 such cameras in operation across Australian government agencies.
“This is an issue … and where those particular cameras are found, they’re going to be removed,” Defense Minister Richard Marles told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
During parliamentary Question Time on Thursday, Sen. Murray Watt – speaking on behalf of the government – said the attorney general has “requested advice on whether a governmentwide ban is required to address protective security risks.”
Chinese-made technology has come suspicious internationally for alleged influence by Chinese intelligence, misgivings that became particularly supercharged by the 2017 enactment of China’s National Intelligence Law, which requires organizations to support intelligence work. The role Hikvision and Dahua, both state-owned companies, played in perpetuating serious human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in northern China has also put them under mounting regulatory pressure in the West.