Xiaomi smartphones have been praised in the reviews for their powerful hardware at low prices. But now European IT security experts are recommending to keep your hands off it.
What do “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” and “the democratic movement” have in common?
These are terms that the regime in Beijing hates, and thus fall victim to state censorship. The party dictatorship in China operates a strict system of internet filtering, also known as the Great Firewall. The goal is to keep information critical of the system away from the population.
What consumers in Europe didn’t know yet: Chinese censorship is also built into smartphones sold in that country.
What was discovered
Flagship smartphones made by the tech giant xiaomi It has a built-in filter function to recognize and control conditions. Lithuania’s state cybersecurity agency warned against this on Tuesday.
IT security experts from the northeastern European country have examined the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, an existing smartphone from the manufacturer, among other things, Reuters news agency reported. The oversight program was discovered and it was decided to stop it for the “EU region”. However, it can be activated remotely at any time.
When the National Cyber Security Center of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense presented the relevant investigation report on Tuesday, the deputy defense minister found clear words.
“Our recommendation is not to buy new Chinese mobile phones and to get rid of those already purchased as soon as possible.”
The list of terms that can be censored by system applications of the Xiaomi smartphone, including the standard Internet browser, currently contains 449 Chinese words and is constantly updated.
“This is important not only for Lithuania, but for all countries that use Xiaomi devices.”
The report of Lithuanian cybersecurity experts also indicates that the Xiaomi smartphone sends encrypted usage data to a server in Singapore Sends.
A security hole also exists in the 5G smartphone P40 from the Chinese manufacturer Huawei Found, but nothing in the tested device from competitor OnePlus.
In a reaction, a Huawei representative in the Baltic states announced that their smartphones will not transfer any user data to external bodies.
What is behind it?
Relations between Lithuania and China Reuters wrote that it got worse recently. Last month, China demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and announced that it would recall its ambassador in Vilnius. The reason for this is that Taiwan has announced that it will name its diplomatic mission in Lithuania the “Taiwanese Representative Office”.
Taiwanese embassies in Europe and the USA used the city name of Taipei and “avoid any reference to the island itself, which China claims as its territory”.
US President Joe Biden’s security adviser, Jake Sullivan, spoke to Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonet last week, stressing that she is supportive of the country in the face of pressure from China.
What does Xiaomi say
According to the report, the Chinese company did not respond to a request from Reuters.
Follow Watson and ask for an opinion. Then a Xiaomi spokesperson announced:
“Xiaomi devices do not censor the communication of or from their users. Xiaomi has never, and will never, restrict or prevent the personal activities of smartphone users, such as searching, calling, browsing the Internet, or using third-party communication software. Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of its users. Xiaomi is committed to of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). »
Former Soviet Republic
After the Soviet occupation (1940), which was interrupted by the German occupation (1941-1944), the country regained its independence in 1990. In the context of EU expansion in 2004, Lithuania became a member state of the European Union and a member of NATO. As of January 1, 2015, Lithuania became the nineteenth member of the Eurozone.
Xiaomi can do much more than just smartphones
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