Xiaomi engages expert to assess allegations of Lithuanian censorship
Xiaomi engages expert to assess allegations of Lithuanian censorship

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced that it will hire outside experts to assess the Lithuanian government's claims that its phones have censorship features.

"Although we decline to describe some of the findings, we employ independent external experts to evaluate the opinions expressed in the report," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Following a report by the NCSC from the Lithuanian National Cyber ​​Security Center that claimed that Xiaomi phones have built-in monitoring capabilities, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense urged consumers to drop Chinese phones last week.

The Chinese company said at the time that its devices would not censor communications with users.

The company did not provide any information on external organizations participating in the evaluation. A spokesman for the company told Reuters it is a Europe-based organization.

The report indicated that the ad management software used by the company has limited capabilities to manage paid ad content that is delivered to devices through applications such as Mi Video and Mi Browser.

In response to allegations of censorship, the company said the software could be used to protect users from offensive content. Examples include pornography, violence, hate speech, and referrals that can offend local users. This practice is common in the global smartphone industry and on the Internet.

The company also said that it complies with the ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management Standard and the ISO/IEC 27701 Data Protection Information Management System, two frameworks that follow the European General Data Protection Regulation, in terms of data protection.

Lithuania accuses Xiaomi of checking its devices

The Lithuanian NCSC said in its report that Xiaomi flagship phones sold in Europe have built-in capabilities to detect and monitor words such as "Tibet freedom", "Long live Taiwan independence" or "democratic movement".

According to reports, the Xiaomi 10T 5G mobile software has turned off this function in the European Union. But it can be controlled remotely at any time.

According to data from the research firm Strategy Analytics, Xiaomi became the best-selling European smartphone product for the first time in the second quarter of 2021. Deliveries on the continent of Europe reached 12.7 million units.

The company and other Chinese competitors have gained market share thanks to the Android operating system. After the United States imposed sanctions on Huawei, it brought the once-dominant smartphone industry to a standstill.

Lithuania's relations with China are tense. In August, China asked Lithuania to withdraw its ambassador to Beijing. She said she would call her envoy back to Vilnius after Taiwan announced that her mission to Lithuania was called the Taiwan Representative Office.

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