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Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
February 10, 2023

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Australia cites ‘security fears’ after removal of Chinese video surveillance cameras from defence sites

The Australian Government has taken the decision to remove Chinese-made video surveillance cameras from defence sites, citing ‘national security fears’.

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New Parliament House, Canberra (Credit: Ian Dagnall/AlamyStock)

An audit was said to have found 900 pieces of related surveillance equipment on government estates across more than 200 buildings. At least one unit was also found in the defence department.

In a radio interview given on 9 February, Richard Marles, Australia’s Minister for Defence and Deputy Prime Minister, was asked about the findings of the equipment, which had been released in The Australian newspaper earlier that morning.

In response, Marles noted that the department had been assessing all of the technology for surveillance within the Defence estate. In relation to ‘surveillance cameras made by Chinese state government-owned corporations’, he stated that “where those particular cameras are found they’re going to be removed”.

Marles since added: “I don’t think we should overstate [the seriousness]… but it’s a significant thing that’s been brought to our attention and we’re going to fix it,” while highlighting that the devices pre-dated his time in office.

There will also be further reviews carried out into whether the cameras on other government buildings should be removed as well.

The Government opposition’s spokesperson on cyber security, Senator James Paterson, had also recommended that the cameras should be “urgently removed”. He noted concerns over vulnerabilities that had previously been identified where remote users could gain control over them, as well as Chinese National Intelligence laws and ethical issues of their use in Xinjiang province.

The move follows similar policies in the United States and the United Kingdom. In November, Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, ordered UK Government departments to stop installing surveillance cameras made by Chinese firms subject to China’s national security law on “sensitive sites”.

 

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