• Tue. Mar 7th, 2023

Surveillance equipment linked to Chinese government found at ABC headquarters

ByGurinderbir Singh

Mar 3, 2023

Surveillance equipment built by companies linked to the Chinese government are being ripped out of the ABC after they were uncovered across three sites.

Cameras made by Hikvision and Dahua were located at the public broadcaster’s Ultimo headquarters and two additional regional locations.

“Work is underway to remove the cameras,” a spokesperson told NCA NewsWire.

While the public broadcaster would not confirm just how many cameras had been discovered, NCA NewsWire understands a number are located in secure areas within the Ultimo headquarters.

The Sydney HQ is home to some of the networks most high profile news programs, such as 7:30, Four Corners, Radio National and Q&A.

Hikvision and Dahua cameras have been banned in the United States and the United Kingdom due to fears they could contain spyware.

The US Federal Communications Commission warned the devices held an “unacceptable risk to national security”.

Both companies are subject to China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law which requires organisations to hand over data to intelligence services if requested.

The public broadcaster did not confirm if the CCTV cameras were internet-connected.

Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson called for the urgent removal of the devices and questioned why the ABC had not done so given its own reporting on the matter.

“It is ironic the ABC has Hikvision cameras given they have reported themselves on the national security risks and human rights implications of these Chinese Communist Party linked companies,” he told NCA NewsWire.

“Now that they have been identified they must be immediately removed, like in all other Commonwealth entities.”

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has been contacted for comment.

Advice on whether the cameras should be formally banned is being provided to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

Last month, the Department of Finance confirmed the Chinese-made cameras and intercom systems were being removed from the offices of almost 100 federal MPs.

An audit also found the surveillance equipment was found in almost every department including the Attorney-General’s, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence.

At least 913 cameras were found to be installed at more than 250 government buildings.

The government quickly confirmed it had launched an audit of the equipment, with Defence Minister Richard Marles vowing to “deal with it”.

“That (risk has) obviously been there, I might say, for some time and predates us coming into office but, that said, it’s important that we go through this exercise and make sure that our facilities are completely secure,” Mr Marles said last month.

Hikvision has previously said suggestions its devices were a national security threat were “categorically false”.

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