The US government is not the only leading body concerned with Chinese phones falling into the hands of its own citizens. The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense advised consumers to refrain from buying any Chinese mobile phones this week - and to get rid of the items at the earliest opportunity.
These recommendations do not stem from Chinese privacy or tracking concerns, as they have here in the United States. Instead, Lithuania is more interested in local censorship technology, which is said to be sold with phones sold by some Chinese phone makers, such as Xiaomi. Apparently, the phones in question can detect and monitor terms such as "Free Tibet" and "Long live Taiwan independence."
These terms define China's hot issues, and its authoritarian control over the freedom of expression of its citizens. Issues like freedom and democracy are not important in the country, and any attempt to discuss them publicly often has quick, if not always severe, consequences. At the very least, any messages tagged on many popular Chinese social networks and message boards will be deleted or blocked.
Lithuanian censorship technology is present in the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G. As reported by Reuters, it has been shut down for EU customers, but is said to be working "remotely" at any time. However, such a scenario may seem unlikely in the near future. Citizens in the EU (and indeed anyone outside of China) are likely to learn about this current oversight very quickly and are calling on Xiaomi to do so. The agencies involved appear to be worrying enough for Lithuania to fight it off. It is clear that the country does not ban or seriously restrict the use of Xiaomi devices or any Chinese phones. This report sounds more like a warning than anything else, and we can't argue with it - it's always better to let consumers know the potential of their devices, good or bad. Column header: Robson90
Lithuanian Ministry of Defense advises consumers to abandon their Chinese phones