Australia’s Department of Defence will be removing all Chinese-made security cameras from its buildings to ensure that the premises are “completely secure.”
According to Australian opposition politician James Paterson, at least 913 Chinese-made cameras have been installed in over 250 Australian government buildings, including offices of the departments of Defence, Finance, the Attorney-General, Foreign Affairs, and more.
Reacting to the figures, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles said that the Department would be moving to remove all such cameras.
“It’s a significant thing that’s been brought to our attention and we’re going to fix it,” said Marles, speaking to state broadcaster ABC news.
“It’s important that we go through this exercise and make sure that our facilities are completely secure.”
Several other government departments reportedly declined to comment on the presence of these devices.
Paterson, who is a strong critic of the Chinese Communist Party, claims that Australian government buildings are “riddled” with “spyware” from China.
This move to remove Chinese devices by Australia follows similar moves by Britain and the United States recently.
The cameras in question were made by companies Dahua and Hikvision, which have been accused of helping the Chinese government to carry out a “campaign of repression” against China’s persecuted Uyghur Muslims.
The companies deny these allegations, with Hikvision saying that it is “categorically false” to paint them as “a threat to national security.”
“No respected technical institution or assessment has come to this conclusion,” the company said to AFP in a statement.
However, the US banned the import of surveillance equipment manufactured by these companies in November of 2022, calling the products “an unacceptable risk to national security.”
Additionally, following the allegations against the company, 67 British MPs and lords called for the government to ban the products last year as well.