Experts warn: Xiaomi phones have built-in censorship

The Xiaomi Mi 9 Android smartphone was launched in 2019. Now European security experts recommend against purchasing such devices.

Archive photo: Environmental Protection Agency

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.

22.09.2021, 16:3223.09.2021, 14:23

Daniel Shorter
Daniel Shorter

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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 regime of internet filtering, and it uses the Great Firewall to protect its citizens from the outside. There is complete control.

What many consumers in Europe don’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.

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, reiterating his support for 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:

Former Soviet Republic

Lithuania is the southernmost of the three European Baltic states. The former Soviet republic borders with Poland, Latvia and Belarus. The capital, Vilnius, is not far from the Belarusian border. The population of the small country is a good 3 million (January 2021).

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


Xiaomi can do much more than just smartphones

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