Lithuania Claims China's Xiaomi Phones Have Censorship Hardware
Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer behind some of the world's most widely purchased smartphones, has been accused of pre-installing censorship software on its phones, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
Photo Insert: Lithuania's government says it found that the Xiaomi Mi 10T device has the technical capability to recognize and block terms such as "Free Tibet" or "democracy movement."
Lithuania's government says it found that the Xiaomi Mi 10T device has the technical capability to censor the content downloaded onto it and is now warning owners of Xiaomi phones to stop using them.
The Chinese manufacturer's pre-installed software has the potential to recognize and block terms such as "Free Tibet" or "democracy movement," the State Cybersecurity Center in Vilnius said.
This function is deactivated on phones sold in Europe but can be switched on remotely at any time. Building on its reputation for budget devices, Xiaomi has become an increasingly popular alternative to Samsung and Apple in Europe in recent years.
While Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei suffered huge losses following US sanctions over accusations it carried out spying on behalf of the Chinese government, Xiaomi has largely continued its expansion into Western markets without accusations of Chinese state interference.
Officials in Vilnius say they also found key cybersecurity risks in Huawei phones following an investigation of Huawei's P40 phone.
Two of the four risks discovered in Xiaomi and Huawei phones were linked to pre-installed apps and the other two to the risk of loss of personal data and possible restrictions on freedom of expression, according to the authority under the Baltic EU and NATO country's Defense Ministry.
With Huawei phones, there are concerns in connection with the official app store, which redirects to insecure providers. In a test of the OnePlus 8T, no security vulnerabilities were discovered.
The government in Vilnius advised Lithuanian consumers to avoid buying mobile phones from Chinese manufacturers and to stop using devices already in use.