Itanagar: Senior lawmaker from Arunachal Pradesh, Ninong Ering has shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to ban the installation of Chinese CCTV cameras in government offices, fearing that the Chinese-made CCTVs currently in use across India can be used as “eyes and ears for Beijing”.
While noting that the threat to India’s national security becomes graver since the existing laws and awareness are inadequate to deal with this threat, the MLA from Pasighat West constituency said the government can consider the launch of a Swadeshi cloud-based server solution to safely keep the CCTV data wherever it is required. Besides, he called for launching a public awareness campaign to educate people against using Chinese CCTVs in their homes.
Referring to a recent media report, the former Union Minister said in his letter, “Chinese hackers have regularly attacked Indian institutions, including a thwarted attempt to jeopardize the seven major electricity load dispatch centers (ELDCs) near the LAC to Ladakh. In connection with this, a US-based cyber security firm has revealed that Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, often used in Close Circuit Television (CCTV) networks and Internet-operated Digital Video Recording (DVR) devices were compromised in the operation by the Chinese hackers.’
An estimate by the centre showed that there were over 2 million CCTVs installed across India, with over 90 per cent of them made by companies that are partially owned by the Chinese government. Even more worrisome is the fact that more than half of these were installed in India’s government departments.
He also mentioned that “the Minister of State for Communications and IT, Sanjay Dhotre, in Lok Sabha has even called the problem of such CCTVs “vulnerabilities” that can transfer sensitive data to servers located abroad. Experts have also repeatedly pointed out that these CCTVs have a weak technical architecture that can easily be compromised and used for offensive purposes. These CCTVs can effectively become eyes and ears for anti-India forces. Chinese CCTV systems made by Hikvision and Prams Hikvision have even found their way to India’s Southern Naval Command, located in Kochi”.
“I will like to respectfully remind you that in my letter to you on 2nd July 2020, I had written about how Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfci, a former engineer in the Chinese army. Under uniquely opaque Chinese law and governance in practice, Huawei very likely will not be in a position to refuse the Chinese agencies against any demands for cooperation to collect information on India. The Chinese law makes it mandatory for the Chinese firms to help in intelligence gathering,” Gao said in his letter to the PM.
“In the present state of affairs, when China has repeatedly shown hostility not just on our LACs but also by attacking India’s IT infrastructure”, the former Parliamentarian said, “India must take decisive action to curb this looming Chinese threat”.
“Hence, I will request that you immediately direct a ban on the installation of Chinese CCTV systems in Indian government offices. This can be followed by a launch of a public awareness campaign educating people against using Chinese CCTVs in their homes. The government can also consider the launch of a Swadeshi cloud-based server solution to safe keep the CCTV data wherever it is required. Given India’s prowess in the IT sector, we are well capable of dealing with this danger to our national security,” the Congress legislator added in his letter.