Chinese smartphones have grown in popularity in recent years and despite their low prices and big specifications, the Lithuanian government is urging its residents to avoid purchasing these phones and if they do own one, to dispose of it. One of the main Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Xiaomi, has been singled out for criticism.
The Lithuanian Defence Ministry’s Cyber Security Centre carried out tests on certain devices from a range of manufacturers and discovered that the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G had in-built censorship capabilities.
Detected Smartphone Terms
It was found that the device had been designed to detect a whole range of terms such as ‘Free Tibet ‘, ‘Long Live Taiwan Independence’ and ‘Democracy Movement’ could be detected and then censored from applications on the device and that includes the browser.
However, it was announced that this feature had been removed for those users in the European Union although it can be activated remotely if required. Furthermore, the report also highlighted that the device was also sending encrypted data to a server located in Singapore.
This might surprise many, especially as Xiaomi is now behind the leading smartphone manufacturer Samsung, even taking over Apple in the rankings as it takes advantage of having the ability to reach a wider market and the problems that Huawei has been facing in recent times. These claims could have a huge impact on the way in which the company looks to take a larger share of the European market. Therefore, the issue is not just one that Lithuania faces but it is an issue that all countries face if they use equipment made by Xiaomi.
Xiaomi Fights Back
As expected, Xiaomi has come out and reacted to these allegations. The company has clearly stated that it does not censor communication that takes to and from its users. They have also clarified that they will never place any restrictions or will block the personal behaviours of their smartphone users and this includes the likes of searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third party applications for communication.
It has also made it clear that the company also respects and protects the legal rights of all users and so, they also comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The centre also discovered issues with the Huawei P40 5G device as the flaw they identified meant that users were directed to malicious applications although a OnePlus 5G device was found to be problem-free. After the findings, Huawei responded and said that it adhered to all laws and regulations in all countries and that Cybersecurity is a top priority for the company.
There are currently ongoing tensions between Lithuania and China following the news that Taiwan announced that its diplomatic mission in the country would be known as the Taiwan Representative Office. These missions, which are essentially embassies, are usually given the name of the capital Taipei. The reason for this is that China has a claim on the island. However, there is no denying that these findings, whether true or not, certainly give users something to think about.
If you like this Story, why not check out our recent story on the Samsung Galaxy X21- HERE