Xiaomi commissions external investigation into ‘censorship function’ in its smartphones

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Xiaomi engages a third party to investigate the findings of the Lithuanian Cybersecurity Center. That independent party must judge the claim that the phones of the Chinese manufacturer have a censorship function built in.

Xiaomi says in a statement to Reuters that it “disputes the characterizations of certain findings” and is using an independent third-party expert to review the report. It is not known which party is conducting the investigation, but according to a spokesperson for the manufacturer, it is a European organization.

The Lithuanian NKSC said last week that the Xiaomi Mi 10T has a function to recognize and block terms such as “liberate Tibet” and “long live Taiwanese independence”. There are 449 terms on the list. The censorship function is disabled in Europe, but could be enabled remotely. The cybersecurity center states that this is a risk because the list of terms could be activated and expanded at any time.

Xiaomi denies restricting or blocking the behavior of smartphone users. The manufacturer has not denied the existence of a list of terms that can be censored. According to Reuters, Xiaomi says it “protects users from certain content, such as pornography and references that offend local users.” The manufacturer also states that it complies with European legislation.

The use of such a feature in China is not surprising. The Chinese government is known for monitoring and blocking such terms. The country does this through its Great Firewall. The function may be in European smartphones because the software is based on Chinese variants.

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