Geo-Specific , Governance & Risk Management

Australia Bans Hikvision & Dahua Cameras From Defense Sites

The Government Is Considering Banning Their Use Across All Federal Agencies
Australia Bans Hikvision & Dahua Cameras From Defense Sites
Image: Shutterstock

Australia's Department of Defense will rip out cameras made by Chinese manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua while the government considers whether to ban their use across all federal agencies.

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Government use of security gear made by the Chinese manufacturers turned into political controversy Thursday after Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson pressed the government of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party. Paterson said his office has uncovered more than 900 such cameras in operation across Australian government agencies.

"This is an issue ... and where those particular cameras are found, they're going to be removed," Defense Minister Richard Marles told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

During parliamentary Question Time on Thursday, Sen. Murray Watt - speaking on behalf of the government - said the attorney general has "requested advice on whether a governmentwide ban is required to address protective security risks."

Chinese-made technology has come suspicious internationally for alleged influence by Chinese intelligence, misgivings that became particularly supercharged by the 2017 enactment of China's National Intelligence Law, which requires organizations to support intelligence work. The role Hikvision and Dahua, both state-owned companies, played in perpetuating serious human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in northern China has also put them under mounting regulatory pressure in the West.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission in November banned imports of Hikvision and Dahua on national security grounds. It also banned goods and services from ZTE and Huawei, the world's largest telecom equipment manufacturer.

The U.K. government in November told government agencies to remove Chinese surveillance equipment from sensitive sites and consider a total removal.

Chinese companies and the Beijing communist government downplay accusations that tech companies act as extensions of the intelligence-gathering apparatus. During a daily press conference Thursday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said that China opposes "erroneous practices of over-stretching the concept of national security and abusing state power."

About the Author

Jayant Chakravarti

Jayant Chakravarti

Senior Editor, APAC

Chakravarti covers cybersecurity developments in the Asia-Pacific region. He has been writing about technology since 2014, including for Ziff Davis.

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