Ns News Online Desk: Consumers should throw away their Chinese phones and avoid buying new ones, Lithuania’s Defense Ministry has warned. A report by its National Cyber Security Center tested 5G mobiles from Chinese manufacturers.
It claimed that one Xiaomi phone had built-in censorship tools while another Huawei model had security flaws. Huawei said no user data is sent externally and Xiaomi said it does not censor communications.
“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” said Defense Deputy Minister Margiris Abukevicius.Xiaomi’s flagship Mi 10T 5G phone was found to have software that could detect and censor terms including “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement”, the report said.
It highlighted more than 449 terms that could be censored by the Xiaomi phone’s system apps, including the default internet browser. In Europe, this capability had been switched off on these models, but the report argued it could be remotely activated at any time.
“Xiaomi’s devices do not censor communications to or from its users,” a spokeswoman told the BBC. “Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or block any personal behaviors of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third-party communication software.”
The firm is fully GDPR compliant, she added.The research also found the Xiaomi device was transferring encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore. “This is important not only to Lithuania but to all countries which use Xiaomi equipment,” the Center said. The smartphone maker has soared in popularity with affordable models, seeing a 64% rise in revenue in its second quarter compared to a year earlier.