Ninong Ering, Congress lawmaker from Arunachal Pradesh has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban Chinese CCTVs used in the country, keeping in view the threat perception.
Ering, MLA of Pasighat West, in a missive to Modi on Sunday also suggested launching of a public awareness campaign to create awareness among people against using Chinese CCTVs in their homes. The government can consider the launch of a Swadeshi cloud-based server solution for the safekeep of CCTV data wherever it is required, Ering, a former central minister himself, said.
“Given India’s prowess in the IT sector, we are well capable of dealing with this danger to our national security,” he said in his letter. Chinese-made CCTVs which are currently used across the country can be used as “eyes and ears” by Beijng and the threat to India’s national security becomes graver since existing laws and awareness are inadequate to deal with this threat, Ering said quoting from an article that appeared in the media. Stressing his point, Ering said Chinese hackers have regularly attacked Indian institutions.
“In connection with this, a US-based cyber security firm has revealed that Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, often used in CCTV networks and internet-operated digital video recording (DVR) devices were compromised in the operation by Chinese hackers”. An estimate by the Centre showed that there were over two million CCTVs installed across India, over 90 per cent of which are made by companies that are partially owned by the Chinese government.
What made the situation worrisome is the fact that more than half of these CCTVs are installed in the government departments, he claimed. “The former minister of state for communications and IT, Sanjay Dhotre, in Lok Sabha called the problem of such CCTVs as vulnerabilities that can transfer sensitive data to servers located abroad,” Ering said in his letter.
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, he claimed.
Many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, have identified the dangers associated with using Chinese infrastructure in CCTV systems and have explicitly put public statements and banned their use in areas sensitive to national security, he asserted.