The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense advises users to avoid buying Chinese phones and throw away the ones they already have. The country’s National Cyber Security Administration said on Tuesday that Xiaomi’s flagship phones have the built-in ability to detect and censor terms and phrases such as «Free Tibet», Long Live Taiwan Independence, «Democracy Movement» and many others.
This feature has been disabled for the European Union on Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, but it can be easily enabled remotely at any time, according to a report from the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense. System apps on Xiaomi devices, including the default internet browser, censor a total of 449 words and terms. This list is constantly updated. In addition, a Xiaomi phone was found to be sending encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore.
This is important not only for Lithuania, but also for all countries that use Xiaomi equipment.
Ministry of Defense of Lithuania
A security hole was also found in the Huawei P40 5G smartphone, but a representative of Huawei in the Baltic states said that the company’s phones do not send user data to external sources. No such issues were found on OnePlus smartphones.
Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevičius told reporters that they «recommend not to buy new Chinese phones and get rid of those already bought as soon as possible.»
Relations between Lithuania and China have soured recently, especially after China demanded the recall of the Lithuanian ambassador in Beijing last month.