(CTN NEWS) – The Australian government announced Thursday that the Defense Department would remove surveillance cameras from its structures built by firms affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, following similar actions by the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Defense Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are just two of the Australian government and agency offices with at least 913 cameras, intercoms, electronic entry systems.
And video recorders developed and produced by Chinese firms Hikvision and Dahua, according to Australian newspaper on Thursday.
The government of China, which the Communist Party runs, owns a portion of Hikvision and Dahua.
Richard Marles, the defense minister for Australia, stated that his agency is reviewing all of its surveillance equipment.
Marles told Australian Broadcasting Corp, “Where those particular cameras are identified, they’re going to be removed.” “We’re going to take care of this problem; there is one here.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning denounced “wrongful activities that overstretch the idea of national security and abuse state power to restrict and discriminate against Chinese firms” when asked about Australia’s decision.
Mao stated that the Chinese government “always supported Chinese firms to carry out foreign investment and collaboration by market principles and international regulations, and based on compliance with local rules,” without explicitly addressing Australia.
“We hope Australia would create a fair and nondiscriminatory environment for the regular functioning of Chinese firms and do more things that are favourable to mutual trust and collaboration between the two sides,” she said to journalists at a briefing.
To safeguard the country’s communications network, the U.S. government said in November that it was outlawing communications and video surveillance equipment from many well-known Chinese manufacturers, including Hikvision and Dahua.
In November, Hikvision security cameras were also prohibited in British government buildings.
Hikvision and Dahua cameras and security apparatus were discovered in practically every department in Australia, with the exception of the departments of agriculture and prime minister and cabinet.
The National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian War Memorial have declared they will take down the Chinese cameras discovered at their locations, the ABC reported.
James Paterson, a spokesman for the opposition’s cybersecurity team, claimed that his inquiries to each federal agency over a six-month period prompted the audit after the Home Affairs Department was unable to specify the number of cameras, access control systems.
And intercoms that were installed in government buildings.
To remove all of these devices from Australian government departments and agencies, Paterson urged the government to devise a plan immediately.
According to him, both businesses must work with Chinese intelligence organizations following the National Intelligence Law of China.
Paterson stated that to protect the interests of Australian residents, “we would have no way of knowing if the sensitive information, photos, and audio gathered by these devices was discreetly transferred back to China.”
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