Lithuania’s Defence ministry warns consumers in the country to throw away Chinese phones. Here’s why.
Lithuanian govt says no to Chinese phones
Based on a report by Lithuania’s National Security Center, a Xiaomi phone came with built-in censorship tools and a Huawei phone has security defects. However, Xiaomi denied censoring communications. Huawei also assured that they do not send user data externally. “Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones. And to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” said Margiris Abukevicius, the Defence Deputy Minister.
Lithuanian @cert_lt investigated 5G cell phones made by
manufacturers Xiaomi, Huawei & OnePlus. The initial results of the investigation show some cyber and personal data security risks. Study was initiated to ensure the safe use of 5G mobile devices and software sold in
— Lithuanian MOD (@Lithuanian_MoD) September 21, 2021
According to Lithuania’s security report, Xiaomi’s flagship Mi 10T had software that can sensor and detects censor certain terms. This includes “Free Tibet”, “democracy movement” and “Long live Taiwan independence”. In addition to this, it also highlighted over 449 terms with the possibility of censorship by the system apps. It also applies to the phone’s default browser. Although switched off on European models, the report argues that it can be remotely activated. However, 5G models by OnePlus were found to have no such issues.
Other phones under scrutiny
Xiaomi’s phones are not the only phones that the government suggests abandoning. The report also highlights Huawei P40, a 5G phone that puts users’ data at risk. “The official Huawei application store AppGallery directs users to third-party e-stores. It is then assessed by anti-virus programs as malicious or infected with viruses,” stated a joint statement. Moreover, the statement comes from the Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre and Ministry of Defence.
“Xiaomi’s devices do not censor communications to or from its users. After all, 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,” reported a spokeswoman. She assured it is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) terms.
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