Australia: Chinese surveillance cameras removed from offices of politicians

Australia: Chinese surveillance cameras removed from offices of politicians


Dozens of Chinese surveillance cameras will be removed from the offices of Australian politicians, officials said on Monday, days after a similar announcement from the Department of Defense prompted by protesters. security reasons. 

At least 913 of these devices have been placed in more than 250 Australian government buildings, including the Department of Defence, according to data released last week .

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told public broadcaster ABC last week that all such devices would be removed from his department's premises to “ensure that our facilities are completely secure”.

Des Finance Ministry officials also confirmed that 65 such surveillance cameras had been installed in offices used by politicians.

The ministry has gradually replaced them, but 40 still need to be removed, he said, stressing that they would be replaced by April.

Similar initiatives have been launched in the United States and the United Kingdom, which have taken steps to prevent government establishments from installing Chinese-made cameras at sensitive sites.

Both countries have expressed concern that sensitive information could leak if the Chinese companies behind the devices were forced to share their data with Beijing's intelligence services.

The cameras in question were produced by Hikvision and Dahua, both blacklisted in the United States. According to the US Department of Commerce, the two companies participated in the “surveillance” of the Uyghur minority in the northwest Chinese province of Xinjiang.

In November 2022, Washington banned the import of equipment from Hikvision and Dahua, citing “an unacceptable risk to national security”.

Hikvision, for its part, rejected the accusations and told AFP that its products were “compliant with all laws and applicable Australian regulations and are subject to strict security obligations”.

The decision of the Australian Defense to remove these cameras from the premises of the ministry had reacted Beijing, which accused Canberra of “misusing national power to discriminate against and suppress Chinese companies”.