Parliamentarians backing Australian government Extension of contract with Chinese-owned data center

Australia’s Independent House of Representatives Andrew Wilkie called on the Ministry of Defense on June 2 to explain why the government extended its contract with a foreign company that stores strategically sensitive data for another five years. September 2020.

With intensifying strategic geopolitical competition in the Indo-Pacific region, Wilky has joined forces with foreign data storage companies in recent months, spurring increasingly expanding and aggressive Beijing and land cyber attacks. Called for immediate termination of all contracts with the Australian Government.

This includes Global Switch, a Chinese company based in Sydney that stores sensitive government data such as Australia’s domestic espionage agency ASIO.

“This is wrong on so many levels,” Wilkey said. Told home “It’s clearly wrong from a national security standpoint,” he added.

When Wilkey walked down the street and randomly asked 100 people, “100 out of 100 Australians said,’Of course, [sensitive data] Must not be owned by a foreign company! “

Tasmanian parliamentarians said he did not exclude China, but told the government that foreign ownership, involvement and influence in Australia needed to reform “roots and branches” and “global switch” to the government. “As soon as humans can” urged “to retrieve security data from the company.”

“Today, data is as important as the land and resources we walk on. It’s our very existence and part of our country,” he said.

South Australian Parliamentarian Rebekha Sharkie resonated with this sentiment and lamented the sale of “everything of value in this country” to foreigners. “Our data is worth the money. That’s all the data. That’s our security. That’s our sovereignty, “she said.

Queensland Congressman Bob Cutter, who supported Wilkey’s motion, blamed the government’s decision to extend the lease given that Global Switch is a Chinese company.

“You really couldn’t make this!” Kata said. “Australia’s most strategic security asset is its information system, which is in the hands of those who broadcast pictures of Australian soldiers severing their babies on national television in China.”

“They insisted that Australia should be bombed five weeks ago,” he said, referring to an editorial in Global Times, the spokesman for the Chinese Communist Party. “And you told them yours. You have given full control of the information system. “

Andrew Hasty
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie spoke at the Australian Parliament in May 2018. (Australia)

In response to this move, Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Hasty has given the Australian Government full control of the Global Switch data center with fortress-like physical and cyber security protections representing “the highest level of security assurance.” Guaranteed to lawmakers.

Hastie told Wilkie and Katter that if he was “a decision maker many years ago,” the Global Switch lease would “never happen.”

But now that he has been an assistant to the Minister of Defense, Hasty said, “My eyes will keep an eye on this issue.”

Global Switch is an Australian-owned company that was acquired by Elegant Jubilee Limited in 2016. Its controlling shareholder is Shagang Group Co., Ltd. (“Shagang Group”). In November 2020, Announced Elegant Jubilee Limited becomes a wholly owned and indirect subsidiary of Shagang Group Co., Ltd.

During his time as Treasury Secretary, Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave the government a deadline for migrating data from Global Switch to an Australian-owned company in September 2020.

However, in October 2020, the government signed a $ 53.5 million lease extension with Global Switch by 2025, saying it would be “impractical” to migrate all data by the deadline. Said.

The Epoch Times
The Nimitz carrier strike group aircraft and the B-52 bomber at Barksdale Air Force Base will conduct a free and open Indo-Pacific joint air operation on July 4, 2020. )

But Morrison told Congress in February (pdf) The government has indicated that in May 2020, the most sensitive data had already been moved from the Global Switch to a dedicated facility. Other sensitive data was migrated before the September 2020 original lease expired.

Morrison said that less sensitive and unclassified data is in the process of moving to alternative data centers through a “rigorous risk-based approach,” Hasty reiterated on June 2.

However, Wilkey told the Epoch Times that he was not happy with the response of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. “For now, it’s wrong in principle to leave our data there. This is an insult to our sovereignty and denies the work of Australian companies,” he said. It was.

Hasty points out that Australia’s data security is crucial in the face of strategic geostrate tensions, and the Pentagon guides data management and keeps planning data strategies to improve data literacy. Said that.

“Strategic headwinds are raging and straddling major changes in the Indo-Pacific region, where strategic geopolitical competition between nations is fierce, military modernization is underway, and gray weapons. -Zone tactics to force the state below the limits of normal warfare, “said Hasty.

“Cyberwarfare and espionage are gray zone activities used by nation-states to undermine the sovereignty of competitors and break the practice of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Cyber ​​is a new battlefield, and whether we like it or not, we participate in online contests not only to protect personal security, but also to protect digital sovereignty as a nation,” he said. ..

Global Switch did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

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