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Chinese-made surveillance cameras will be ripped out of ‘sensitive’ Australian government buildings after fears they could send data back to Beijing

  • Chinese surveillance units found within govt buildings
  • China’s govt partly-own the companies making the devices
  • Defence minister said the cameras would be removed 

Australia’s defence minister claims Chinese-made surveillance cameras and devices will be removed from sensitive Australian government buildings, with fears the equipment could send data back to Beijing

‘We’re doing an assessment of all the technology for surveillance within the defence estate and where those particular cameras are found, they’ll be removed,’ Richard Marles told the ABC. 

‘It’s a significant thing that’s been brought to our attention and we’re going to fix it.’ 

An audit uncovered the shocking amount of devices made in China riddled throughout government buildings including equipment installed inside offices operated by Defence, Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Department.

The cameras and recording devices are manufactured by Chinese companies, Hikvision and Dahua, which are both partly-owned by the Chinese government. 

It’s believed more than 900 cameras may be present inside government buildings. 

Surveillance equipment from Hikvision and Dahua was either banned or heavily restricted in the United States and United Kingdom last November. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese brushed off concerns over China’s response to the announcement and whether removing the equipment would further damage bi-lateral relations

‘We act in accordance with Australia’s national interest,’ he said.

‘We do so transparently. That’s what we’ll continue to do.’

Asix-month audit of every Commonwealth department by Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson led to the discovery of multiple surveillance cameras and recording devices in government buildings.

Surveillance cameras were found in every department with the exception of the prime minister and cabinet and the agriculture department. 

The attorney-general’s department had the highest number of surveillance units, with 195 pieces of equipment installed at 29 sites. 

The cameras and recording devices are manufactured by Chinese companies, Hikvision and Dahua, which are both partly-owned by the China's government (pictured, China's President, Xi Jinping)

The cameras and recording devices are manufactured by Chinese companies, Hikvision and Dahua, which are both partly-owned by the China’s government (pictured, China’s President, Xi Jinping)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) was not concerned about the response from China over the announcement that equipment from Hikvision and Dahua would be removed

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) was not concerned about the response from China over the announcement that equipment from Hikvision and Dahua would be removed

The number of units installed in each office was counted but some departments couldn’t provide an accurate figure as to how many there were. 

The audit by Senator Paterson was sparked after the Department of Home Affairs was unable to answer how many surveillance units were installed within government buildings.

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He called on the government to tear out all cameras and equipment immediately following the conclusion of the audit. 

‘This presents a unique ­national security risk to Australia,’ he said.

‘With Hikvision and Dahua devices fitted across the Australian government, including at the heart of our national intelligence community, the companies and their employees may be forced to provide the Chinese government with their 24-hour access to valuable surveillance data.’

‘We urgently need a plan from the Albanese government to rip every one of these devices out of Australian government departments and agencies.’

Besides the defence department, the Australian War Memorial and National Disability Insurance Agency have also pledged to remove all cameras found at their sites.

Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson (pictured) conducted an audit of every government department

Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson (pictured) conducted an audit of every government department

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