Lithuania orders citizens not to use smartphones from China

Popular phones manufactured by China have built-in censorship that can remove certain search terms from websites, according to a study by the Lithuanian government, which urges citizens with similar phones to replace them immediately.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense conducted an analysis of three popular Chinese-made phones sold in Europe, namely the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, Huawei P40 5G, and One Plus 8T 5G.

The ministry reported the discovery of a sensor in Xiaomi phones that could block certain search terms, including searches for “Long live Taiwan’s Independence,” “Free Tibet,” “Democratic Movement,” and “Voice of America.”

“It is very worrying that there is a censorship tool in it and censorship of these keywords, which will filter or can filter your search on the website,” Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius told FLY.

Xiaomi is the most popular Chinese-made smartphone in Europe.

Lithuanian researchers say this sensor function is disabled on Xiaomi phones sold in Europe, but can be activated remotely.

The list of blocked search terms seems to be constantly being updated. There were 449 words or terms on the list as of April 2021. By September, the number on the list had tripled to 1,376 words. (jm/my)

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