Ering seeks ban on installing Chinese CCTV cameras

ITANAGAR, 6 Mar: Former MP and sitting Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering has written to the prime minister, urging him to put a ban on Chinese CCTV installations in India, citing security concerns.

In his letter to the PM, Ering cited an article titled ‘The China snooping menace’, published by one of the major media houses of the country, claiming that “Chinese made CCTVs currently in use across India can be used as eyes and ears for Beijing.”

“Chinese hackers have regularly attacked Indian institutions, including a thwarted attempt to jeopardize the seven major electricity load dispatch centres near the LAC in Ladakh. In connection with this, a US-based cyber security firm has revealed that the internet protocol cameras, often used in closed circuit television (CCTV) networks, and internet-operated digital video recording devices were compromised in the operation by Chinese hackers,” Ering said.

An estimate by the Centre showed that there are over 2 million CCTVs installed across India, with over 90 percent of them made by companies that are partially owned by the Chinese government, he said, adding that “even more worrisome is the fact that more than half of these are installed in India’s government departments.”

“Experts have also repeatedly pointed out that these CCTVs have 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 Prama Hikvision have even found their way to India’s southern naval command, located in Kochi,” the MLA said, adding that countries such as the US, the UK and Australia “have identified the dangers associated with using Chinese infrastructure in CCTV systems and have banned their use in areas sensitive to their national security.”

“The Chinese law makes it mandatory for the Chinese firms to help in intelligence gathering. 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, it is evident that India must take decisive action to curb this looming Chinese threat,” Ering said, and sought immediate ban on installation of Chinise CCTV systems in Indian government offices.

“This can be followed by launching 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 safekeep 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,” Ering added.