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Xiaomi has the power to censor your phone, report claims

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Callum Booth
2021-09-22 08:15:36

A security report has found that Xiaomi has the ability to remotely censor its phones. This came from Lithuania’s Defence Ministry, which advised users of the company’s devices to get rid of them.

First covered by Reuters, the Lithuanian report found that the Xiaomi Mi 10T receives an updating list of blocked keywords from the manufacturer. While this hasn’t been enabled in Europe, researchers claim Xiaomi has the technical capability to censor these terms at will.

At the time of the study’s release, there were 449 keywords on the list — all in Chinese characters. These included terms such as “free Tibet” and “Taiwan independence.”

Dr. Tautvydas Bakšys, one of the researchers, said that while the “content filtering function was disabled on Xiaomi phones sold in Lithuania,” it could be activated “remotely at any minute without the user’s knowledge.”

When introducing the report, Margiris Abukevičius, the Deputy Minister of National Defence, said their recommendation was to avoid buying any Chinese phones and “get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible.”

In response to this news, Xiaomi gave us this quote: “Xiaomi’s devices do not censor communications to or from its users. 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. Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users. Xiaomi complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”

This is an interesting response. The company denies any accusation that it has censored content, but it hasn’t denied these powers exist.

Read into that what you will.

xiaomi mi 10 t