Lithuania’s Defense Ministry suggested that consumers avoid buying Chinese smartphones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities.
Lithuania’s state-run cyber security body stated that flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement”.
Defense Ministry’s National Cyber Security Centre said in the report that the capability in Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region”, but can be turned on remotely at any time.
Further, Defense Deputy Minister Margiris Abukevicius told “Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible.”
Also, the National Cyber Centre’s report said the Xiaomi smartphone was sending encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore. A security flaw was also found in Huawei P40 5G, but no issue was found in Chinese smartphone, OnePlus.
The report also said a list of terms could be censored by the system apps of Xiaomi phone, and the sensor could run by default internet browser. Reports said that currently there are 449 terms and is continuously updated.
“This is important not only to Lithuania but to all countries which use Xiaomi equipment,” the Centre said in the report.
If the Xiaomi’s current issue transform to next level, especially in US, that could be another downfall to Chinese smartphones that Huawei faced in Play Store.