Lithuania’s Defence Ministry has urged people to throw away their Chinese phones due to security and censorship concerns.
The Defence Deputy Minister, Margiris Abukevicius, said, “Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible.”
A report published by Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Centre found that phones by Chinese manufacturers such as the Xiaomi Mi 1OT 5G had built in censorship-tools.
The Xiaomi phone was found to censor terms such as “democracy movement”, “Free Tibet”, and “Long live Taiwan independence”, along with 447 other terms on a list that is continually being updated.
While this feature is turned off in the European Union region, the report warned that it can be turned on remotely at any time.
According to the report, the model also sends encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore.
“This is important not only to Lithuania but to all countries which use Xiaomi equipment,” the report said.
The centre also raised concerns with 5G models by Huawei, which it declared put consumers at risk of security breaches.
Xiaomi and Huawei have both denied the report’s claims. A spokeswoman from Xiaomi said the firm is fully GDPR compliant.