Growing security concerns about possible Chinese surveillance have prompted Australian authorities to arrive at the decision of removing all Chinese-made security cameras by the end of next year. According to Australian outlet The Age, Victoria Police revealed that it will be carrying out the replacement of all cameras manufactured in China in an attempt to avert foreign intelligence gathering.
Australia's Greater Geelong city has initiated the process as the risk of being compelled to give data to Beijing rises. James Paterson, a Victorian Liberal senator and a strong advocate against espionage, stated that he wants Victoria Police to be quick with the process.
"I'd like to see much more urgency. If they are a national security risk, there should be no delay in addressing it," he stated. Meanwhile, the force has said that it will even replace those cameras that are currently operating and have been understood to be low risk.
This comes days after the Victorian government said that an audit of security cameras at locations owned by the government will be conducted. So far, hundreds of Chinese-made devices have been discarded from Commonwealth departments and sites such as the Australian War Memorial.
"There continues to be a number of Chinese-manufactured cameras used across the state and these are being progressively replaced," said a spokesperson for Victoria Police. "It is expected the cameras in question will all be replaced by the end of 2024," she added.
The move has garnered plaudits from many including upper house Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick, whose political party is strongly against mass surveillance. Concerns of Chinese espionage have taken over the world after a Chinese spy balloon was spotted in US airspace. In the United Kingdom, Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner Fraser Sampson opposed the UK's dependence on Chinese cameras and said, "I do not understand why we are not at least as concerned about the Chinese cameras six feet above our head in the street and elsewhere."