Lithuanian ministry: „Throw away Chinese smartphones”

Lithuania has issued a war on Chinese technology, and Xiaomi is mainly targeted. Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius has recommended getting rid of Chinese phones and not buying new ones. Reason? Content Censorship. However, the issue may be broader… Political.

As reported by Reuters, a government report found that devices have built-in password censorship features such as „Free Tibet”, „Long Live Taiwan Independence” or „Democratic Movement”. The list includes 449 phrases in Chinese. And while the blocking function is excluded within the European Union, according to the Lithuanians, it can be activated at any time. However, that’s not the end of the story.

Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G was supposed to send encrypted data about phone usage to a server in Singapore. The security vulnerability was also found in the P40 5G, manufactured by Huawei. This type of bug has not already been found in the phone of another Chinese manufacturer OnePlus.

„This is important not only for Lithuania, but for all countries that use Xiaomi devices” – the Defense Ministry’s National Cyber Security Center said in a report.

Manufacturers deny

The Baltic News Service website asked a Huawei representative for the Baltics for comment and was assured that the Chinese company does not send any user data outside.

Xiaomi has issued an announcement assuring that the company’s devices do not censor communication. “Xiaomi has never and will not restrict or block any personal activities of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, browsing or using third-party communication software. Xiaomi fully respects and protects the rights of all users. Xiaomi complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (RODO)”.

A political issue?

There are strained diplomatic relations between China and Lithuania, which may be related to the report. It should be mentioned m.In. Lithuania’s criticism of removing Hong Kong’s partial independence, boycotting the 17+1 summit, and then withdrawing from participation. China, meanwhile, has called for the withdrawal of its ambassador from Beijing and has itself announced the recall of its representative in Vilnius. Why? Opening of an outpost in Lithuania called the Taiwan Representative Office. There are similar offices in many European countries, but they have „Taipei” in their name, which is accepted by China. The report may therefore be a continuation of political pushback.

IT research – is an advertising filter

According to the Lithuanian report The censorship function is hidden in a file called MiAdBlacklistConfig. It was taken under the microscope by Adam Conway, an Irish IT specialist who published his findings in XDA Developers. According to him, it is about censoring ads.

– Given that „AdBlacklist” is literally in the name, I think it’s pretty clear what the file is used for – writes.

After searching the file, he found as many as 2210 phrases, and among them were not only words relating to politics, but also those related to porn, and even buzzwords like „Xiaomi” and „mi”. This would mean You wouldn’t even be able to go to the phone manufacturer’s website if the list was activated system-wide.

Conway adds that Xiaomi has had serious issues with ad content in the past. In fact, the company pledged in 2019 to remove „vulgar” ads and prevent them from being displayed to users.

Is there anything to be afraid of then?? – I believe that there is no problem currently with Xiaomi devices when it comes to security – provides Adam Conway.