Australia’s Defence Department will spend $200million relocating its secret files from a Sydney data centre after concerns over its new Chinese owners.
Reassurances regarding the safety of their files from Global Switch, who own two high-security data centres in Ultimo, have been ignored as the government plan to make the move in 2020 once their contract with the company ends.
Chinese consortium Elegant Jubilee acquired a 49 per cent of Global Switch’s London-based parent company Aldersgate Investments with a $4billion cash purchase in December, ABC News reports.
Sydney based Global Switch currently holds secret government Defence files yet they will be removed in 2020 following Chinese investors buying a 49 per cent share in the company
Global Switch own two high-security data centres in Ultimo and have been used by the government since 2010
The Australian Government previously blocked a move by Chinese tech giant Huawei to enter NBN proceedings. Huawei have had a strategic partnership with Global Switch since April
The company holds classified government information, including sensitive Defence and intelligence files, which led to security concerns from experts in the UK when the ownership changed hands last year.
It has been revealed that that the sale to the consortium led by Li Qiang, who owns shares in one of China’s leading data companies, prompted a Foreign Investment Review Board investigation.
This led to the government implementing stringent conditions where they asked for the Ultimo-based data centre to be controlled and owned solely by Aldersgate Investments.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Government ‘acted to ensure the integrity of our foreign investment process when it came to that data centre’.
‘They got a very clear message from the Government about how the Government would feel about [the Sydney data centre] being incorporated into that global deal,’ Mr Morrison told ABC News.
It appears an agreement could not be met between the Chinese investors and the Government and now plans are already underway to transfer the files to a secure government-owned data centre at a cost of up to $200million, which Mr Morrison labelled an ‘entirely appropriate decision.’
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Government ‘acted to ensure the integrity of our foreign investment process when it came to that data centre’
Global Switch’s group director Damon Reid defended the company claiming they have no access to customer’s data
Global Switch’s group director Damon Reid defended the company claiming they have no access to customer’s data.
‘Our customers lease space which they fit out with their own secure cages with their own servers.
‘Global Switch operates under the highest levels of security and our shareholders are restricted from physical access to the data centre,’ he revealed.
Federal agencies began storing their data in privately owned centres in 2010 where centres were required to store national files as Secret as opposed to Restricted.
Files classified as Top Secret are held by the government and not with private companies.
In April, Global Switch revealed a strategic partnership with global Chinese telecommunications equipment company Huawei, who were blocked by the Australian Government for entering National Broadband Network contract discussions in 2012 as they were believed to be a security risk.
Storing data in private centres costs the the Government around $1billion annually.