Australian critical infrastructure operators are being urged to discontinue their use of Chinese technology

The Australian government is considering expanding the ban on Chinese-made hardware and software, including DJI drones, from federal agencies to critical infrastructure sectors, as officials assess their powers for intervention and engage in discussions regarding the implications and potential avenues for issuing such a ban.

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The Australian government’s efforts to remove Chinese-made hardware and software from its systems may extend beyond the federal government to include critical infrastructure operators. The government is currently assessing its authority for potential ‘market intervention’ in this regard as security concerns continue to drive the suspension of Chinese technology usage.

Due to security concerns, the Department of Home Affairs has already suspended the use of Chinese-made technology, including CCTV cameras, TikTok on government devices and drones and accessories made by Chinese tech company DJI.

The suspension of DJI drones has expanded from the Defense Department to the Home Affairs Department, including the Australian Border Force. In accordance, Home Affairs officials are engaging with Defense to review the technology and assess its implications before further use. In addition, Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, James Patterson, raised the question of expanding the ban on Chinese technology to critical infrastructure sectors. He inquired about the potential for using the Security of Critical Infrastructure (SoCI) laws to issue a directive banning the use of these technologies. Also, the Risk Management Program (RMP) obligations on critical infrastructure operators and Section 32 of the SoCI Act are discussed as potential avenues for issuing a ban by Home Affairs officials, including Michael Pezzullo and Hamish Hansford.

Moreover, Liberal Senator for Victoria, James Patterson insist that operators should take their own proactive measures to remove such technology before any regulatory actions are taken.